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NBC World Series

Liberal Bee Jays Win 5th NBC Title

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Mike Dean
NBC Official Scorer 

WICHITA, Kansas - Resiliency: the ability to bounce back from adversity. 

Liberal (Kan.) Bee Jays used that trait in a big way, defeating the Seattle (Wash.) Studs 9-6 in the championship game of the 76th annual National Baseball Congress World Series. Liberal's title, its first since 2000, is the fifth for the Bee Jays.

The BeeJays overcame deficits in three of its first five wins, then bounced back from a 5-0 loss to Seattle in the quarterfinal round to finish with a 7-1 record.

Joe Vaskas went 4-for-5, scored three runs and knocked in three to lead a 15-hit Liberal attack. He hit a two-run homer in the first that helped the BeeJays to a 3-0 advantage, then scored on Sam Konnoff's base hit in the fifth to give Liberal the lead for good. Blake Bergeron went 2-for-5 with two RBIs, including an RBI triple in the sixth as the Bee Jays scored a pair of insurance runs.

Tyler Sturges, the second of three Bee Jay pitchers, got the win while Tomas Cruz squelched two potential Seattle rallies in pitching 3.1 innings of shutout relief with five strikeouts to get a save.

The Studs (6-2), who finished second for the second time in the past three years, used a two-run homer from Kevin Corrigan and a grand slam from Kyle Boe in the fourth inning to wipe out a 6-0 deficit. Seattle put two runners on in the sixth and seventh innings, but Cruz thwarted the Studs each time.

David Benson, the third of four pitchers, took the loss after allowing the last three runs. Taylor Thompson pitched the final 2.1 innings to run his tournament scoreless streak to 17.1 innings.


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