The Ogallala senior legion baseball team had a bad taste in their mouths after a 15-3 loss to Gering Platte Valley Companies in the first round of the Class B, Area 7 tournament.
The big loss didn’t sit well, but they were able to use it as motivation on Monday.
Ogallala racked up 16 hits to beat Gering 11-3 in six innings.
Despite the early exit, Gering will continue its season in the state tournament as the host team. The eight-team tournament will begin on Saturday at Oregon Trail Park Stadium.
Gering head coach Rick Kinnaman said it’s nice to be part of the state field, but Platte Valley Companies was hoping to qualify as an area champion.
“It’s disappointing to lose,” Kinnaman said after Monday’s game. “I’m thankful that we get to keep playing, but we’d rather earn our way. That didn’t happen but we get to keep going, but now we have to prove that we belong here.”
Ogallala jumped ahead early to fend off elimination with a run in the first inning before exploding for five in the third. Ogallala fired off four straight hits in the third inning before Gering could record the first out.
Platte Valley Companies tried to fight back in the bottom half of the third. Riley Hoke led off with a single to left field and later scored on a wild pitch. Brady Radzymski then singled to allow Anthony Walker to score. Jerod Balthazor scored the third run on an error, cutting the lead in half at 6-3.
But that was the only momentum Ogallala would give up.
Behind a standout performance from Clayton Murphy, Ogallala’s starting pitcher, on the mound and at the plate Ogallala kept the hot streak rolling. Murphy smacked a 3-run home run in the fourth to put Ogallala up 9-3.
Ogallala added a solo run in the fifth inning and another in the sixth, off a solo homer from Caden Lavinguerre, to reach the eight-run rule after five innings.
Murphy dealt five strong innings for Ogallala, allowing three runs on two hits with seven strikeouts. Luke Paloucek pitched the sixth inning, recording two strikeouts and a popout to end the game.
Kinnaman said Gering’s didn’t have the right approach at the plate and struggled to put the ball in play.
“We didn’t go up to the plate with a plan,” Kinnaman said. “We were pretty bad at the plate, we only had a couple balls that we put in play very hard. We struck out nine times and six of them were looking.”
Radzymski finished 1-for-3 with one RBI to lead PVC. Hoke added Gering’s only other hit and scored a run. Walker and Balthazor also scored single runs for Gering.
On the mound, Justin Scott was charged with the loss, surrendering six runs on eight hits with two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings. Radzysmki allowed five runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings .
Despite the loss, Gering still has hope for the season as the state tournament’s host team. Kinnaman said the team needs to change its approach at the plate and fix some mental things if they want to compete through the weekend.
“We’ve got to change our plate approach for sure, and maybe just our overall attitude,” Kinnaman said. “We have to learn how to fight through the calls that don’t go our way and mature a little bit on the mental side. We’ll talk about that and hopefully we can get a little bit of that done before Saturday.”
Ogallala 105 311 x — 11 16 4
Gering 003 000 x — 3 2 0
WP — Clayton Murphy. LP — Justin Scott.
2B — Ogallala (Jordan Callihan 2, Lane Blackwell, Luke Paloucek 2.
HR — Ogallala (Caden Lavinguerre, Clayton Murphy).