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NBC Notes: Bee Jays’ Diaz does what it takes

  • Published Saturday, July 27, 2013, at 11:37 p.m.

Everything about Luis Diaz’s college statistics suggest he’s a leadoff hitter — he steals bases, bunts for hits, scores a lot of runs and draws a lot of walks.

So it appeared Diaz was escaping his comfort zone batting third for Liberal, but Diaz has always hit third. He just doesn’t fit the mold.

In Liberal’s 3-2 loss to San Diego on Saturday in the first round of the National Baseball Congress World Series’ opening week, Diaz continued to display traits that might be better suited for the top of the order.

Diaz had two bunt singles, a walk, two stolen bases and two runs. He’s not a No. 3 hitter who threatens for extra-base hits in every at-bat, but he finds other ways to be dangerous.

“As a three-hole hitter, (infielders) play you back so I try to take advantage of everything I can,” Diaz said. “I try to get a base hit — if I can’t do it with a swing, I’m going to lay one down like I did today.”

Diaz played for the Dodge City A’s during the summer but was picked up by fellow Jayhawk League team Liberal when the A’s failed to advance to the tournament.

While Diaz batted .213 for the A’s, he apparently made enough of an impression on Liberal coach Brandon Kitch, who slotted Diaz in the middle of the Bee Jays’ lineup.

In a tournament where power is at a premium because of wood bats and a pitcher-friendly Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, Diaz’s tools are just as handy as those of a prototypical No. 3 hitter.

“I can hit for power,” Diaz said. “I just feel like, if they’re going to give me a hit, eight times out of 10 I’m going to be safe if I lay (a bunt) down. I’m going to take advantage of that. If I’m swinging the bat well, I’m going to hit. If I need to get something going in a close game, I’m going to put something down to get on base and let my team do the work.”

Familiar territory

Liberal received a bid to the tournament after another team dropped out just before it started. As the fourth-place team in the Jayhawk, the Bee Jays were just on the outside of teams to receive automatic berths.

Now that it’s in the losers bracket, Liberal is taking the same approach as it did about receiving a second chance in the tournament. The Bee Jays’ pitching may be in rough shape following a 13-inning loss, and they may have to win up to seven games to advance to Championship Week, but that doesn’t discourage them. They play Saturday at 8 a.m.

“I’m glad we got to come back,” Kitch said. “I think this team, and I hope this team, will come back and make some noise. We’ve still got some arms left that can come in and shut the door for (Saturday).”

Alumni falls in 13th

Adam Blum scored on an error by Alumni pitcher Jared Simon as Chase Fieldhouse's attempted squeeze bunt bounced directly back to Simon. He bobbled it, giving the Capahas their second run of the 13th, the game-winner in a 5-4 victory. Blum tripled in the tying run one batter earlier.

After Matt Baty's leadoff single in the top of the 13th, the following two Alumni players were retired. With Baty on second after a stolen base, Plaza Tire intentionally walked 45-year-old former Kansas City Royals outfielder Brian McRae and hit Ryan Hege to load the bases. Adam McCormick walked on a full count to put the Alumni ahead 4-3.

The Alumni scored three runs in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead, but the Capahas scored in the fifth to tie it. The teams went scoreless for the next seven innings.

Scoreboard

Saturday’s Games

Denver Cougars 5, Newton Rebels 4, Newton eliminated

Austin Gold Sox 4, Jasper (Ind.) Reds 1, Jasper eliminated

San Diego Force 3, Liberal Bee Jays 2, 13 innings

Cape Girardeau (Mo.) Capahas 5, Kansas Alumni 4, 13 innings

Kansas Cannons vs. Colorado Cardinals

Force 3, Bee Jays 2

LiberalSan Diego
abrhbiabrhbi
Kirk ss6000Loud cf6120
McLemore 2b5000Williams rf4110
Tillotson 1b5220Boggan 1b6000
Stevens dh5011Leary dh4000
Nevarez ph0000Scheiwe pr0100
Mestas pr0000Schulz lf5032
Capshaw 3b6011Nordgren 3b4010
Dahl rf4020Heerdt p, ss6011
Floyd c5000Walters c4000
Reding lf5010Esser ph1000
Rainey cf5010Crouse c0000
Israel 2b4010
Totals46282Totals503104

Liberal10000100000002
San Diego20000000000013

LOB— Liberal 9, San Diego 13. 2B— Stevens, Schulz, Nordgren. HP — Williams 2. SB — Tillotson 2, Dahl, Rainey. CS — Tillotson.

LiberalIPHRERBBSO
Bethard75217
Buss3 2/310022
Nack L1 1/33112

San Diego IP H R ER BB SO
DeMar85215
Heerdt4 2/330014
Makler000010
Burnes W1/300000

WP — DeMar. Umpires—Home, Mike Lentz; first, Ben Harlow; second, Conan Strobel.

T— 3:14.

Capahas 5, Alumni 4

AlumniCape Girardeau
abrhbiabrhbi
Waters rf3100Kimball 2b6010
Brown rf3010Caveness cf5010
Baty 2b6121Parmley ss5110
McBratney lf6010Campbell 1b6010
Scram cf4010Hagedorn c5010
Magness 1b4000Connor 3b6131
McDonald ph1000Bennett dh5110
McRae 1b0000Blum rf5111
Hege dh4120Fieldhse lf5110
McCrmck 3b5132
Weber c5011
Tessndrf ss3000
Totals444114Totals485112

Kansas Alumni00003000000014
Cape Girardeau00111000000025

E— Baty, McBratney, Tessendorf, Simon. DP— Alumni 1, Capahas 2. LOB— Alumni 10, Capahas 12. 2B— McBratney, Hege, Weber, Hagedorn. 3B — McCormick, Blum. SB — Maty, Scram, Parmley. CS — Baty, Scram. S — Weber, Tessendorf, Fieldhouse.

AlumniIPHRERBBSO
Stoner583213
Corley710038
Simon L1/322201

Cape Girardeau IP H R ER BB SO
Cobb663337
Marshall6 2/351133
Wright W1/300001

HBP — by Stoner (Bennett), by Marshall (Hege).

T— 3:25.

Cougars 5, Rebels 4

Denver1120001005 14 2
Rebels2000000204 10 6

W — Young. L — Peacock. S — Koch.

Gold Sox 4, Reds 3

Jasper0000010001 4 3
Austin00310000x4 5 0

W — Wilson. L — Mills. S — Dumaine.

Late Friday

Generals 8, Diablos 0

AlbuquerqueOzark
abrhbiabrhbi
Felix ss3010Lois ss5021
Collier cf2000Richmond c2100
Cordva lf-ph1 000Prieto 2b4200
Villalbos 3b3020Garrison 3b4220
Lucero c3000Borgschlt cf2023
Molina dh3000Ferguson lf4101
Gerero cf-rf2000Reed 1b3100
Kinney 1b2000Blacksher dh3000
Lobato 1b1000Woods dh-ph1000
Hill lf2000Heideman rf4121
Wing rf1000
Gahan 2b2000
Totals25030Totals32886

Albuquerque0000000000
Ozark50000021x8

E— Felix, Villalobos, Lucero, Kinney, Gahan. DP— Ozark 1. LOB— Albuquerque 2, Ozark 9. 2B— Garrison, Borgschulte, Heideman. SB — Villalobos, Richmond, Borgschulte. CS — Felix, Borgschulte.

AlbuquerqueIPHRERBBSO
Bauder L6.056341
Smith 121100
Wiess1/311000

Ozark IP H R ER BB SO
Nason W830015

WP — Nason (1). Umpires—Home, Conan Strobel; first, Travis Olson; second, Mike Lentz..

T— 1:47.

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