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

By Don Ogle 

Waverly stuns defending champs to take American Legion Class B Junior title

 

Don Ogle / Sun-Telegraph Editor

Waverly hoists the state champion plaque in celebration after winning the state Junior title over Hickman.

Baseball fans watching the Americal Legion Class B Junior State Tournament at Legion Field were given a surprise Thursday when the tournament came to an end.

Hickman came into the state tournament as two-time defending champions, and as the tournament progressed, went through the bracket and into the championship game without a loss.

Hickman powered its way to the final using hot bats and solid defense to mow down challengers. Talk around Legion Field, and expectations from many, considered Thursday afternoon's final a formality in Hickman's quest for a third straight title.

But someone forgot to convince Waverly of that.

Waverly was sent to the loser's bracket over the weekend by Hickman by a 7-5 margin. To win the tournament, Waverly had to beat Hickman not once, but twice, to win the tournament.

Still, Waverly was all business entering what proved to be the first of two game to determine the chamionship.

After shutting Hickman down with two runners in scoring position, Waverly went to work. Shortstop Rhett Jordon and third baseman Jay Adams each scored in the bottom of the first, giving Waverly a 2-0 lead.

After shutting down Hickman in the top of the second, Waverly's offense erupted. Waverly sent 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the second combining four walks with four hits, including a double from Adams, to add five runs on the way to a 7-0 lead.

Waverly added four runs in the third, and three in the fourth, while limiting Hickman to a pair of runs in the fourth. The game came to an end, appropriately under the mercy rule, 15-2, after five innings.

In the second game, defense prevailed for two innings before Waverly, as visitors, jumped on the scoring bandwagon again.

Jordon set the pace with a two-run homer as Hickman scored five runs on four hits and a 6-0 lead.

Waverly added two runs in the fourth, and it wasn't until the bottom of the fifth before Hickman's offense showed signs of life.

Cade Kohout lef off with a single, advancing and scoring on Cade Aro's double. Argo added another run, as did shortstop Drew Reetz, before Hickman went down.

With its lead cut to 6-3, Waverly continued its journey unpreturbed, shutting Hickman down in order in the sixth and allowing only one run in the seventh on the way to an 8-4 win and the championship.

"That's how this team is," said Waverly Coach Nolan Brown. "They're the weirdest team I've ever coached - they never sense pressure. They're just always playing and they're more calm and collected than anybody I've ever seen."

Brown said pitching was one of the keys for Waverly entering the game.

"We had our best three pitchers rested and ready," Brown said.

 

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