By GERARD WELLBROCK
WICHITA – Palmer Hutchison homered and Ben McLaughlin hit a three-run double in a key five-run fourth inning and the Hays Larks advance to single-elimination bracket play at the 88th National Baseball Congress World Series after a 6-1 win over the Lonestar (TX) Kraken Monday night at Eck Stadium.
The Kraken struck first with a run on an infield single in the top of the fourth but Hutchison tied the game with his home run to center to open the bottom of the inning. Austen Jaslove put the Larks ahead for good with a single to left which scored Leo Jiminan who doubled. The big blow came from newcomer Ben McLaughlin who cleared the bases with a three-run double to right to push the lead to 5-1.
The Larks (36-9) would add a run in the sixth on another double by McLaughlin.
Starting pitcher Hunter Marshall (4-0) went seven innings and allowed the one run on four hits with three strikeouts and three walks. Kaleb Meredith and Coby Grimsley both pitched an inning of relief.
Jiminan and Hunter Rosson both had three of the Larks 10 hits. Jiminian had two doubles and Rosson one. McLaughlin added two doubles as the Larks collect six extra-base hits on the night.
The Larks advance to single-elimination bracket play which begins Thursday. They will open with last year’s runner-up, Lonestar Baseball out of Texas at a yet to be determined time.
Lonestar finished 3-0 in their pool after a 12-1 win over the 316 Sluggers in Monday’s late game.