WNCC baseball team drops doubleheader to Lamar on April 22

 

                 The Western Nebraska Community College baseball team had plenty of opportunities in trying to stop a its losing streak, but they fell short in dropping a doubleheader to Lamar Community College 9-3 and 5-2 on Sunday afternoon at Cleveland Field.
                The Cougars, who have now dropped 17-straight, are 6-18 in conference play and still in the hunt for the final playoff berth. But, for that to happen, they need things to happen to register that fourth and final spot.
WNCC trails Trinidad State who is 10-15 in conference play and Otero Junior College, 13-13, in conference play. The Cougars will tangle with Otero at Cleveland Field this weekend in a key Empire Conference four-game set.
                The game, however, might not mean too much if Trinidad State can win three of its final five conference games. Trinidad has a single game with Lamar, and doubleheaders with Northeastern Junior College and McCook on the horizon.
                For the Cougars, they had opportunities to squeeze out one win on Sunday in game two. WNCC stranded eight runners on base. The difference in the game was a four-run fourth inning for the Runnin’ Lopes, who had just three hits in the inning, including a lead-off double by Mitch Robinson and a single and a run-scoring single by Tony Schicktanz.
                Other than that one inning, WNCC stayed with the league-leading Lopes. After Lamar scored a single run in the second on a Robinson double and Schicktanz single, the Cougars came right back to put up a run of their own. Greg Spurgin led off by reaching on an error. After a sacrifice, Ernesto Punales and Andy Padron each had singles to help to score Spurgin. But, WNCC left both runners stranded.
                After Lamar went up 5-1 in the fourth, the Cougars continued their fight back, plating a single run, but could have had more. Zach Ostergard led off with a single. Punales then singled to put two on the bath paths with no outs. Trevor Kriesel came through with a 2-out single to score one run to cut the lead to 5-2.
                After that WNCC relief pitcher Nick Hernandez shut down the Lamar bats, allowing just one hits in the final three innings. As for WNCC, they had a 2-out rally in the fifth as Spurgin singled and Ostergard was plunked by a pitch to put runners on, but nothing came of the rally.
                Both teams each had eight hits. WNCC was led by Punales with a 2-for-3 game. The difference in the game was Lamar had three extra-base hits – three doubles.
                Goings suffered the loss on the mound, going four innings in giving up seven hits, five runs and striking out three. Hernandez went three innings in allowing one hit, one walk and striking out three.
                The first game started strong for the Cougars, but the middle innings proved the difference. Lamar scored twice in the second off a 2-run home run by Ben Lahn.
                The Cougars answered with a single run in the bottom of the second as Nick Vanthillo walked followed by back-to-back singles by Tyler Wiens and Punales to slice the lead to 2-1.
                Lamar came back to score twice in the third and three times in the third for a 7-1 lead. Lamar added to the lead with back-to-back solo home runs by Garrett Yost and Jackson Gooch.
                WNCC tried a seventh-inning, 2-out rally as Max Brennen and Andy Padron were plunked with a pitch. Jake Vore then had an infield hit to load the bases. Benly Ramos then got a single that scored two runs, but that was it for the rally.
                The two teams combined for 24 hits with Lamar getting 16 and WNCC eight. Once again, Lamar had nine extra-base hits, including three home runs and six doubles. The Cougars had just one extra base hit, a double by Padron. Vore led the offensive attack with a 3-for-4 game.
                Jeff Schmitt took the loss despite pitching well. The Cheyenne, Wyo., native went five innings in giving up seven runs on 13 hits and striking out four. Chris Nadon, another Cheyenne native, finished off the contest by going two innings and giving up three hits and two runs.
                The Cougars will be back in action Wednesday when they travel to McCook Community College for a must-win conference game.
First Game
Lamar                    022 302 0 – 9 16 0
WNCC                   010 000 2 – 3 8 0
LP – Jeff Schmitt; 2B – Andy Padron
Second Game
Lamar                    010 400 0 – 5 8 1
WNCC                   010 100 0 – 2 8 2
LP – Dalton Goings.