The Wilber Legion baseball teams needed a couple more runs July 14 against Twin River. The juniors lost 11-10 and the seniors fell 13-12.
“The juniors were in position to win,” Coach David Zimmerman said. “They fought and battled but had a few key errors toward the end. We couldn’t get the plays done.”
He said he put players in new positions for the game, and they did what they could. Wilber had several good hits but left too many runners in scoring position.
“They are playing good baseball,” he said.
The juniors gave up four runs in the top of the fifth and couldn’t rally in the bottom of the inning.
Carson Radcliff was 2-3 to lead the offense. Ashton Pulliam and Max Fitzsimmons also had singles.
Drew Garrison, Owen Smith and Zander Baker each pitched for Wilber.
The seniors trailed 13-7 going into the bottom of the seventh and put together what Zimmerman described as “a heck of an inning.” Five runs on five errors and one hit cut the lead to 13-12 with the tying run on third base. A fly out to left ended the game with Wilber needing one more run to tie.
“We had two outs and one of our top batters at the plate,” Zimmerman said, adding that the batter “crushed one” but the left fielder caught it just short of the warning track.
Mason Zimmerman and Isaac Smith had two hits each, one of Zimmerman’s a double. Ridge Hoffman and Tyson Kreshel also doubled.
Devin Homolka, Cole Siems and Kreshel each pitched for Wilber and combined for seven strikeouts.
“It was a good game to watch,” Coach Zimmerman said. “People who were there saw what we’re capable of.”
The week before, the juniors picked up a 3-1 win at Fairbury and split a double header with Sutton. Game one against Sutton, which was 14-1, saw Sutton win 8-0. Coach Zimmerman said Wilber made some adjustments and came back in game two with a 9-3 victory, handing Sutton its second loss of the season.
“It was good for the juniors to finally get a good win. They’re starting to click,” the coach said. “I’m pleased with how they’re starting to overcome all they’ve been through. I’m very happy with them.”
The seniors met their nemesis again against Fairbury – one bad inning. Coach Zimmerman said Tyler Hooper’s grand slam in the fourth to tie the score was a huge spark for the team, but Wilber couldn’t capitalize on it.
“Kudos to the Fairbury pitcher. He pitched a heck of a game,” Coach Zimmerman said. “We had runners in scoring position but never seemed to capitalize on that.”
That continued against Beatrice later in the week. Coy Rosentreader pitched a great game through five innings, then Beatrice started to hit.
“I thought we would come out of it,” Coach Zimmerman said. “Beatrice took advantage of it.”
He was pleased to see how well the team hung with a Class B team.
“I’m proud of the kinds and how they handle situations,” the coach said. “The high school coaches teach them to win and lose with class. At the end of the day, we want the kids to be the best they can be. I’m thankful for all who push them and teach them that.”
The juniors (3-7) and seniors (3-9) were scheduled to host Malcolm July 21. The juniors have a double header against Crete-Milford Wednesday, July 22, and another against Sutton Saturday, July 25. A trip to Stromsburg-Osceola-Shelby is on the schedule for Sunday, July 26. That’s the final game of the season for the seniors. The juniors finish with a home double header Thursday, July 30, against Beatrice.
Coach Zimmerman said Malcolm will be a good test for the juniors and one he’s looking forward to.
“The kids want it so bad. It’s about focus and being ready to play,” he said.