At the beginning of the season, Teddy Broxterman just wanted to get some innings under his belt and help the Western Nebraska Pioneers anyway he could.
Normally he pitches out of the bullpen in the later innings, but on Monday night head coach Jimmy Turk needed Broxterman to fill in for a starting pitcher.
Broxterman looked right at home for 6 1/3 innings, holding the Spearfish Sasquatch to just four hits while striking out seven in helping the Pioneers pick up a 3-1 win in a rain-shortened Expedition League game at Oregon Trail Park Stadium in Gering.
The game was called with one out in the top of the seventh inning due to a late thunderstorm that dumped torrential rain onto the field. The Sasquatch scored one run in the seventh, but per Expedition League rules, the game was called after the last completed inning after the fifth inning.
Rain shortened or not, a win is a win and that’s enough for Broxterman.
“I told coach (Turk) at the beginning of the season that if he needed a spot starter, I’d be that guy,” Broxterman said. “I’m just trying to help the team and do my best job.”
Broxterman had a few similar spot starts during his sophomore season at Southwest Minnesota State during the spring, but he still had to find his groove as a starter on Monday night.
“Once I got through that first inning, it was a little shaky, but I just kind of fell into a groove,” Broxterman said. “I threw a lot of first-pitch strikes and just settled in.”
The Sasquatch put up the game’s first run in the top of the first inning, when Josue Rangel singled, stole second and third, and scored on a throwing error.
But Broxterman didn’t let the unearned run rattle him, as he didn’t allow another Sasquatch to reach until the fourth inning.
By then, the Pioneers had already bounced back in front. Carter Dobrinski and Franky Montesino were hit by pitches and Cole Gambill drew a one-out walk to load the bases. Jacen Roberson evened the scoreboard with a fielder’s choice ground-out that scored Dobrinski, and Montesino scored on a passed ball for the go-ahead run.
Western Nebraska added an insurance run in the seventh when Jacen Roberson scored on a wild pitch.
The Sasquatch gained steam in the top of the seventh, threatening with two runners in scoring position with just one out. One run crossed the plate, on a rather confusing stolen base, before play was halted because of heavy rain.
Both teams finished with three hits in the contest. Roberson, Will Olson and Chance Medina all chipped in with singles. Roberson finished with the Pioneers’ lone RBI.
Broxterman handled the complete game for the Pioneers on the mound. Although he had to find the right rhythm as the starter, he tried to keep his mental approach the exact same.
“Out of the pen it’s just giving it all you got for as long as you’re out there,” he said. “But with a start, you have to last through the game. I still tried to bring that same mentality, just throw the heck out of it and throw strikes.”
The Pioneers and Sasquatch will complete a two-game set at 6:35 p.m., Tuesday at Oregon Trail Park Stadium before meeting in Spearfish on Wednesday and Thursday.
Sasquatch 100 000 — 2 4 0
Pioneers 002 001 — 3 3 1
WP — Teddy Broxterman
LP — Brayden Spears