Last week was a rough one for the First National Bank-North Platte-Chadron American Legion Seniors baseball team.
Playing at Alliance on Tuesday night, they absorbed a 12-1 setback and then lost a 9-0 decision at home on Thursday night to the Westco Zephyrs from Scottsbluff. Chadron managed just seven hits in the two games.
Head Coach Bruce Parish said things won’t get much easier for his team with an outstanding Gering team visiting Maurice Horse Field tonight (Wednesday), followed by the Casper Crush for a double-header on Thursday night.
Parish is happy that the Casper team is coming to town. The coach has had difficulty finding enough foes for his older team, but noted the Crush contacted him after several of its Colorado opponents cancelled contests because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The game in Alliance went just 3 ½ innings after the Spartans scored nine runs in the bottom of the third. They finished with 10 hits, three of them by all-star Trevor DuBray and two apiece by Victor Hinojosa and J.J. Garza.
Chadron got singles from four players--Trevor Berry, Cole Matson, Xander Provance and Pat Rust. Kirk Sanders pitched the first three innings and Brantz Halouska the final two for Alliance.
All nine Scottsbluff players went to bat in the first inning Thursday night, when a combination of circumstances helped the visitors score five runs.
A setting sun appeared to be a problem for Chadron outfielders twice. A ball apparently was lost in the centerfield shadows the first time and a bit later a line drive hit directly into the sun may have caused the right fielder to get a late start on a ball that bounced in front of him.
Since there were two outs and the base runners were on the move at the crack of the bat, the second hit drove in a pair of runs.
A walk to load the bases, followed by a hit batsman, brought in another run during the fateful rally.
The Zephyrs scored just once in the second inning. It came on a sacrifice fly to left field, but if Zach Wordenkemper hadn’t made a sliding catch of the well-hit line drive, more damage probably might have occurred.
Wordenkemper also made a steller play in the bottom of the third when another runner crossed the plate. However, his throw to home nailed a second Zephyr before he could score.
Dan Wellnitz did his best to get the Nationals on the board in the fourth inning. After catcher Cole Madsen singled, Wellnitz ran for him. He stole both second and third with head-first slides, but the third out was posted before Wellnitz could reach home.
A triple by shortstop Hunter McCallum drove in another run for the winners in the top of the fifth.
In the bottom of the fifth, Chadron’s Xander Provance hit a single up the middle and promptly stole second. But Jared Balthazer, who had relieved starter K.J. Hortline to open the frame, struck out the final two Chadron hitters to end the game.
The Zephyrs collected eight hits, three of them by Porter Robbins and two by both McCallum and Chris Snelling. Besides the hits by Madsen and Provance, Blake Olson got the hosts’ remaining hit.
The Senior Nats are now 4-4 for the season.
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