OGALLALA — A couple of big innings proved to be the winning combination for both Gering Platte Valley Companies and the Chadron First Nationals during the first round of the Class B, Area 7 Senior Legion Baseball Tournament on Friday in Ogallala.
Gering exploded with 11 runs in the top of the seventh to beat host Ogallala 15-3 in the nightcap.
It was a four-run sixth inning that powered Chadron to a come-from-behind 9-7 win over Sidney in the first game.
The victories keep both teams in the winners’ bracket of the double-elimination tournament. Chadron will face top-seeded Alliance on Saturday at 4 p.m. Gering earns a day off before taking on the Alliance/Chadron winner on Sunday. Sidney and Ogallala will play an elimination game on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Platte Valley Companies moved out to a 4-0 lead on Ogallala after plating single runs in the first two innings and scoring twice in the third. Gering starter Jack Franklin made that lead stand up until Ogallala broke through with three runs in the fifth to pull within 4-3.
That was when Gering tacked on a surplus of insurance. Platte Valley Companies scored its 11 runs in the top of the seventh on five hits, while taking advantage of multiple errors by the Ogallala defense.
Riley Gaudreault had two run-scoring hits in the frame, including a double. Also driving in runs with hits in the inning for Gering were Justin Scott, Ryley Hoke, Anthony Walker, and Jerod Balthazor.
Platte Valley Companies finished the contest with 13 hits. Gaudreault led the offensive charge by going 3-for-5 with three runs batted in and two runs scored. Hoke and Quinton Janecek followed with a pair of hits each. Hoke and Balthazor drove in two runs each.
Franklin was solid on the mound. He allowed three earned runs on six hits, walked just one and struck out six in six innings of work. Balthazor struck out the side in one inning of relief.
In Friday’s opener, Sidney led for the majority of the contest after building a 5-0 lead through two innings. Chadron pulled even with three runs in the third and two more in the fourth.
After Sidney went back in front with single runs in the fifth and sixth frames, Chadron’s four-run outburst in the bottom of the sixth proved to be the difference.
Chadron head coach Bruce Parish praised his team’s performance after a slow start.
“First I have to apologize to our kids. It’s the coaches job to get them ready to play and they weren’t ready to play,” Parish said. “We had to dig ourselves out of a hole all day. It’s a testimony to the kids to come from behind and finish it at the end.”
With the game tied at 7-7, Dan Dunbar’s sacrifice fly to center field plated Colton Olson with the go-ahead run. Olson had a run-scoring triple earlier in the inning.
Chadron finished the game with seven hits. Cole Madsen and Tate Ryan led the way with a pair of hits each.
Ryan scored three runs for Chadron. Olson and Luke Tiensvold both scored two runs each. Trevor Berry had a big two-run single in the fourth.
Olson earned the win on the mound in relief of Berry. Olson totaled six strikeouts in four innings of work. Berry had three strikeouts in two innings.
“He’s our spark and he’s our ace,” Parish said of Olson. “We knew they weren’t going to get many more runs, then we gave them a couple. He’s done for a while, so now we have to figure out who’s going to step up.”
Sidney finished the game with eight hits. Kyler Lenzen led the way by going 4-for-5 with a double, two runs batted in and two runs scored. Dante Petersen plated a pair of runs for Sidney.
Sidney 320 011 0 — 7 8 2
Chadron 003 204 x — 9 7 3
WP — Colton Olson. LP — Kyler Lenzen.
3B — Chadron (Colton Olson). 2B — Sidney (Kyler Lenzen).
Gering 112 000 (11) — 15 13 0
Ogallala 000 030 0 — 3 6 9
WP — Jack Franklin. LP — Trey Pavlik.
3B — Ogallala (Ethan Cobaugh). 2B — Gering (Jack Franklin, Ryley Hoke, Justin Scott, Anthony Walker). Ogallala (Alex Patrick, Lane Blackwell).