Good Luck

August 13th, 2020

beejay37slidesatthirdLiberal Rattler Javier Bojorquez attempts to tag out Liberal Bee Jay Bryce Donovan at third. Donovan was safe and later scored in a 15-0 win over the Rattlers at Brent Gould Field Friday. L&T photo/Earl WattBy EARL WATT

Leader & Times

The final score of Friday night’s game between the Liberal Rattlers and Liberal Bee Jays may not tell the true story of the value of the game.

The Bee Jays won 15-0 and only allowed one hit to the younger players, but the exposure the Rattlers received against the level of competition they want to reach shared what the true values was all about for the Rattlers.

“It’s the experience,” Rattler coach Kirby Abney said. “It’s the atmosphere. They got to see some big leaguers and some future big leaguers. They have some arms on the mound that will be drafted. You can’t practice against that, you have to be a part of it.”

Bee Jay coach Eric Olmstead was very familiar with many of the Rattlers. He coached them when they were Redskins.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “I’ve coached about 12 of them, Timothy (Fitzgerald) coming back, and Cesar (Burciaga), Brody (Warren) — this was an eye opener for them. I was pleased they could pull this together. It helped us more than they will ever know, and it will help them know the speed of the game. And it was good for our community, neither of us had to travel.”

Abney, a former Sooner and St. Louis Cardinal himself, was glad to get the chance to face the Bee Jays.

“This gave our players the experience to know what to work on,” he said. “This showed them the reps and work ethic it takes to get to this level. Once you go to college — juco NAIA — they play baseball, and a lot of them go on. My first experience being in Liberal since ’84 and ’85. They let me have the opportunity, and I’m excited.”

After giving up eight hits on Thursday, the Bee Jay pitchers only allowed one Friday.

“Cole  (Evans) was really, really good tonight,” Olmstead said. “They were taking good hacks but his stuff was nasty. (Thursday) night the young kids put it in play. They weren’t intimidated. The message going forward as a high school coach is we need to get them in the weight room. It was a very good two days, and I’m glad we did it.”

The Bee Jays took the weekend off and will finish the regular season against Great Bend with home games Wednesday and Thursday. The NBC Tournament begins Monday.

“We haven’t had a kid go home,” Olmstead said. “We have a really good opportunity at the NBC. It comes down to pitching.”

For the Rattlers, it is to prepare for the next level.

“A lot of these athletes, especially for Coach Olmstead, he got to see some of them, and you can’t put a value on that,” Abney said. “They need to develop the work ethic they saw tonight. Some of them will be doing other sports, but they saw the level they want to get to, now it’s time to go to work.

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