The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Will Korn 

Sidney battles, falls to Gering

Game 3 - Legion Juniors District Tournament

 

Will Korn

Keaton Wakefield delivers a pitch in the second inning of Sunday night's game.

The Sidney Post 17 junior team took a 2-0 lead against Gering in the first inning of its district elimination game Sunday night, but was unable to hold on in a 6-3 loss.

The junior team struggled to slow what seemed like an unending steam of Gering baser runners throughout the game and is now eliminated from the district tournament. Gering stole four bases and also benefited from eight walks, two wild pitches and one hit batter.

Facing Gering right-hander Christian Rogers, Sidney's offense came out sharp after a crushing walk-off loss earlier in the day against Alliance. Two-hole hitter Bret Jaggers got things going with a one-out base knock past the Gering second baseman. Wakefield, who got the start for Sidney, followed up by reaching first on a ball that trickled through the second baseman's legs.

First baseman Zack Means, the hero of Sidney's Saturday afternoon win against Ogallala, singled to left to load the bases and then shortstop Arik Doty brought home Jaggers with a base rap of his own. With one gone and a 1-0 Sidney lead, right fielder Tanner Bellmyer scored Wakefield on an RBI groundout to first base.

Clinging to a 2-0 lead, Wakefield got into trouble quickly in the bottom of the first. A leadoff walk to Dalton Scott started Gering's rally. A wild pitch by Wakefield moved Scott to second and then Austin Hoffman followed with a single that put Gering runners on first and third with one away. Another wild pitch scored Scott and moved Hoffman to third for Connor Picket who hit an infield single to third baseman Spencer Ellwanger that scored Hoffman to the tie the game at 2.

Austin Abbott then hit an RBI groundout that gave Gering the lead for good at 3-2.

Trace Fulk took Gering's second free pass of the inning before Wakefield was able to close out the first.

Rogers held Sidney at bay in the second and third innings, allowing no hits and just one walk in that stretch.

In the bottom of the third, Gering added to its slight advantage after Dylan Radsymski reached first on an error that scored Brester.

Gering headed into the top of the fourth with a 4-2 lead.

Rogers was a little unstable late in the top of the fourth. After setting down both Doty and Bellmyer on strikeouts, he walked Ellwanger and hit catcher Tyler Bergstrom with a pitch to place Sidney runners on first and second with two gone. But Ben Goble was unable to keep the rally going, grounding out to Rogers to bring things to a halt.

Meanwhile Gering managed to pad its two-run in the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Wakefield surrendered a leadoff single by Scott that snuck by Ellwanger at third. Hoffman lined out for the first out, but then consecutive walks loaded the bases once again for Gering.

With two outs and Wakefield nearly out of trouble, Fulk laced a 2-RBI single to the right center gap. Gering now boasted a 6-2 lead.

Wakefield was relieved by Doty. He finished with 6 runs allowed-five earned-on four hits in 3.2 innings. He battled, but had a hard time finding the plate at times as he totaled six walks to just three strikeouts.

Rogers pitching a nice game certainly didn't help. He was equally effective against Sidney in the top of the fifth and sixth innings as he was in the second and third. Only two men reached in the fifth and sixth for Sidney, as the team continued to struggle to find base runners.

Doty was able to keep Sidney in range of Gering over the next couple of innings in relief, but it was up to the bats to generate some much-needed offense.

"I needed to throw strikes, let them hit it and let my defense work," said Doty, who pitched a very clean two and two thirds shutout innings, allowing just a pair of hits and walking two.

With the season on the line, the top of the seventh briefly looked promising for Sidney.

Goble led things off by reaching first on Gering's only error of the night and then he stole second. The next batter, Mitch Rolls, struck out but was picked up by Jaggers who worked his second walk of the game.

Jaggers took off for second and on an attempt to throw him out stealing, Goble came in to score, cutting Sidney's deficit to 6-3.

But the rally fell short as Wakefield and Means grounded out to end the game.

The juniors took another tough loss but held their heads high as they walked back out onto the field to shake hands with Gering. The coaches had a few words of encouragement for the team after the season-ending loss.

"The average age of this team is 14 or 15," said assistant coach Tommy Arellano. "Last year Chadron [who will play in the district championship game] was a young team, learned from their experience, came back and played great baseball to get where they are [in the championship game].

"We had a great chance to win it this year," said assistant coach Jake Wilson.

Unanimously, the team voted to bring back skipper Tim Herrera next summer.

"We've only got two players from this year's team [Goble and Bellmyer] moving onto seniors next year so we'll have a very strong core," said Herrera. "This team met all of my expectations for the season."

Line Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E

Sidney 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 4 2

Gering 3 0 1 2 0 0 x 6 6 1

Box Score

AB H R RBI 2B 3B SO BB SB

Rolls 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0

Jaggers 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 1

Wakefield 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1

Means 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Doty 3 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0

Bellmyer 2 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 Ellwanger 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0

Bergstrom 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Goble 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1

Sidney Pitching

IP H R ER K BB

Wakefield 3.2 4 6 5 3 6

Doty 2.1 2 0 0 0 2

 

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