Although the Gering Platte Valley Companies time at the Class B state baseball tournament was short-lived, the senior legion team still gained a lot of experience and growth over the weekend.
PVC wrapped up its baseball season, falling twice on Sunday in competitive games at the state tournament at Oregon Trail Park Stadium. PVC finished the season with a final record of 24-17-1.
PVC head coach Rick Kinnaman said they had a good season.
“I think we grew a lot and I think we learned a lot about each other; some good and some not so good,” he said. “I think they learned that baseball has an intrinsic value to it in life’s lessons. I think they finally figured that out because it is not about getting scholarships and being the best ball player on the field; it is about working with each other, discipline, being on time, accepting failure, and fighting through adversity. Those type of things.”
PVC dropped its first-round game Sunday morning in a heartbreaking fashion to Wakefield 6-4 after coming back with a strong seventh inning before leaving the tying runs stranded in scoring position.
The PVC seniors followed that up with an elimination game with McCook. PVC and MNB were knotted at 1-1 early before PVC surrendered seven third-inning runs and three fourth-inning runs to fall 13-5.
Kinnaman said his team just couldn’t get a break in both games. In the opener, PVC had a chance to win.
“We had a chance to win that first game and we couldn’t get things put together and buy a break,” he said. “They had a couple hits that bounced over our third-baseman’s head and he is quite tall. We made a couple errors and they would score, and we got picked off the bases. We just lost focus and didn’t get a break and it just wasn’t meant to be, I guess.”
The bright spot of PVC’s young team is they aren’t losing any players from the roster next summer.
“They should have the hunger for next year,” Kinnaman said. “I am ready for next year right now and looking forward to it.”
Kinnaman said the only loss to the team next year is the two assistant coaches Danny O’Boyle and Zach Smith, who both moved to Arizona to coach high school football with Danny’s brother Patrick. Kinnaman said those two meant a lot to the program.
“Losing Danny and Zach is a big blow to us,” he said. “Me and Danny coached like 300 games together, so we were always on the same page. Zach did some really good things for us at the junior level, too.”
The state tourney opener was a dandy between two competitive teams. Gering struck first with two runs in the first inning. Brady Radzymski started things with a walk and scored on a Riley Gaudreault double. PVC loaded the bases and scored the second run on a Ryley Hoke single for the 2-0 lead.
Wakefield came back to score single runs in the second and third inning to knot the game. Wakefield took the lead with single runs in the fifth and seventh, and two in the sixth for a 6-2 lead.
PVC mounted a seventh-inning rally. Jarod Balthazor started things with a double. With two outs, Radzymski singled Balthazor home with the third run. Radzymski would come around to score later on an error.
PVC had two runners in scoring position after a Riley Schanaman double, but couldn’t get the tying runs in.
PVC finished with seven hits in the contest. Gaudreault had two hits with a double, run scored, and an RBI. Also collecting doubles were Balthazor and Schanaman.
Jack Franklin took the loss on the mound with a strong pitching performance. Franklin went all seven innings in allowing six runs and striking out two.
The second game saw the team fight hard, but just couldn’t find an answer to McCook’s hot bats.
“The last half of the season we finally came up with a batting lineup that worked best for us and then the last weeks of the season, we might be getting beat, but we always made a run at them at the end,” Kinnaman said. “Just to finish strong is a compliment to our players.”
The second contest saw PVC score a single run in the first as Gaudreault reached base on a 2-out error and scored on a Schanaman single.
McCook tied the game with a single run in the second and then plated seven in the third for an 8-1 lead. PVC added a single run in the third as Gaudreault singled and scored two batters later.
McCook put the game away with three in the fourth and two in the fifth for a 13-2 lead. Gering scored three in the fifth including a run-scoring double by Adreick Conn and a 2-run single by Quinton Janecek.
PVC finished the game with six hits. Janecek had two hits with two RBI. Conn was the only other player to register an extra base hit.
Wakefield 011 012 1 – 6 9 4
Gering PVC 200 000 2 – 4 7 2
LP – Jack Franklin.
2B – Jerod Balthazor, Riley Gaudreault, Riley Schanaman.
McCook 017 32 – 13 11 7
Gering PVC 101 03 – 5 6 2
LP – Riley Schanaman.
2B – Adreick Conn.