The Western Nebraska Community College baseball team put together strong pitching from Dawson Hurford and Trevor DuBray and the offense stayed strong throughout as the Cougars captured a doubleheader from Northeastern Junior College Tuesday afternoon at Cleveland Field in the North Division Empire Conference.
Hurford went six strong innings and Gavin Harris tossed the seventh inning to help the Cougars to the 7-0 first-game win.
The second game saw WNCC score seven, fourth-inning runs in earning the 13-3 5-inning win. Dubray tossed four solid innings and WNCC had just two extra base hits from Dillon Fabricus and Riley Schanaman for the win.
Michael Felton, who had a big day at the plate in the two games with a single, double, and triple, said this team played well after rebounding from Saturday’s hiccup to McCook.
“It was a turn-around from the weekend where we didn’t have our pitching going,” Felton said. “Today we figured it out and the bats kept rolling.“
Tuesday’s win was huge since the last time they faced NJC, the Plainsmen beat the Cougars 14-2. Tuesday it was a totally different story. Felton said
“Honestly, that [first] game both sides of the ball weren’t doing too long and we were feeding off each other when we were struggling,” he said. “But, we did a good job staying up today.”
Tuesday’s win followed Sunday’s win where the Cougars run-ruled McCook 11-1. Felton said this team is starting to figure it out and play for each other.
“It [playing well on both sides of the ball] is huge,” Felton said. “As long as our hitting keeps going and if our pitching can keep up with it, I would say we are unstoppable. We can’t be beat if we pitch and hit good in the same game.”
That is the key, what really won the game was the diversity of the hitters since everyone, 1-9 in the lineup came up big in some form during the two games. Felton was blessed to see how everyone stepped up.
“That was huge [of everyone coming up big],” he said. “We struggled a little bit in the first game scoring runs when they were in scoring position, but ended up pulling through in the third through the seventh.”
The first game was an excellent defensive game as Hurford and Harris allowed just four hits and the Cougar offense finished with 10 hits including eight extra base hits for the shutout win.
It took awhile for WNCC to score as neither team score in the first two innings. WNCC finally busted out the offense in the third inning after leaving the bases loaded in the first and second inning.
The third inning saw WNCC break the scoreless tie with two runs. Joey Olson led off with a single followed by Jordan Rollins reaching on an error. Olson came in to score the first run on a Matt Womack sacrifice fly while Rollins scored on a Joe Kinneberg grounder for the 2-0 lead.
WNCC added three more runs in the fourth. Quinn McCafferty started things by reaching on an error followed by Jack Jones ripping a double. With two outs, McCafferty scored on a wild pitch and then Olson hit a line drive that got by the rightfielder and rolled to the wall. Olson hit scored Jones and Olson cycled the based for an inside-the-park home run for the 5-0 lead.
WNCC added single runs in the fifth and sixth. The fifth saw Ethan Johnson hammer a solo home run over the leftfield fence and the sixth inning saw Felton triple and score on a Luis Alcantara sacrifice fly.
WNCC was led at the plate by Olson with a 3-for-4 game including a double, home run, two RBIs, and two runs scored.
Felton had two hits, a double and triple along with a run scored.
Ethan Johnson also had a home run in the contest while doubles came from Jones, McCafferty, and Rollins.
The second game saw WNCC score in all four innings they batted. WNCC opened the game with a run in the first on no hits. Caleb Coats walked and advanced to second on a balk. Coats then stole third and came in to score on the throwing error for the 1-0 lead.
WNCC added four runs in the second Fabricus started things with a double followed by Sergio Tarango getting a free pass. Kinneberg than loaded the bases with a single. Schanaman then scored the first run on a sacrifice fly. Coats then walked to load the bases. Tarango scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0 and then Felton singled to score two runs for the 5-0 lead.
NJC broke up the shutout with a solo home run in the third, but WNCC answered with a single run in the bottom of the third as Schanaman singles in Fabricus for a 6-1 lead.
NJC added two runs in the fourth to cut the WNCC lead in half at 6-3.
WNCC didn’t let those two runs bother them as they answered right back with seven runs in the fourth.
WNCC loaded the bases to start the inning as Felton walked and Alcantara and Rollins each singled. Fabricus and Tarango each drew walks to force in two runs. JT Cafferty scored another run on a grounder for the 9-3 lead.
Kinneberg earned a walk to load the bases and that was when Schanaman roped a double down the rightfield line to score Fabricus and Cafferty to make it 11-3. Coats came right back to earn a walk to load the bases once again. Kinneberg scored on a passed ball and then Schanaman scored on a Alcantara sacrifice fly to make it 13-3.
Chandler Young came in for Dubray to pitch a strong fifth, striking out the first two batters before hitting one and allowing a double. But Young settled down and the last out on a fly ball to rightfielder Schanaman to end the game.
WNCC was led at the plate by Schanaman with two hits including a double and four RBIs. Felton had a single with two RBIs and a run scored, while Kinneberg had two runs scored. Fabricus had a double with three runs scored.
Dubray went four innings in allowing four hits, three runs and striking out two. Chandler Young finished off the game with a strong fifth inning in allowing one hit and striking out two.
WNCC will be back in action Sunday and Monday when they travel to Northeastern Junior College for a 3-game series. WNCC and NJC will play two on Sunday and one 9-inning game on Monday.
NJC 000 000 0 – 0 4 4
WNCC 002 311 x – 7 10 1
WP – Dawson Hurford.
2B – Michael Felton, Jack Jones, Quinn McCafferty, Joey Olson, Jordan Rollins.
3B – Michael Felton.
HR – Ethan Johnson, Joey Olson.
NJC 001 20 – 3 5 1
WNCC 141 7x – 13 7 0
WP – Trevor Dubray.
2B – Dillon Fabricus, Riley Schanaman.