MCCOOK – The Gering Platte Valley Companies senior legion baseball team will be heading into the Class B, Area 7 tournament on a down slide after dropping a pair of games to McCook on Monday afternoon.
Even though Gering lost the doubleheader, the games were competitive. Gering lost 4-2 in the first game and then 11-6 in the second contest.
Gering coach Rick Kinnaman said the games were competitive, but his team just had some bad luck at times that helped McCook gain the wins.
“The games were competitive,” he said. “We just seemed to walk the wrong batter at the wrong time and we had a couple errors. But they were pretty costly. We also didn’t get a lot of cannons [hitting] and we left a small army on the bases. Things just didn’t go our way. We had a nice line drive and they would catch it and double us off. Things like that. It just didn’t go our way today.”
Gering has little time to think about the McCook contest as they will now begin the Area 7 tournament in Ogallala on Friday where they will play the host team. It is a tournament where Kinnaman said his team has to have the right mental frame when the tournament opens up.
“Friday, we go down to Ogallala and play Ogallala to kick off the area tournament,” he said. “We will have to be right back at it again or we will have a short area tournament if we are not ready to go.”
The area tournament opens Friday with No. 4 Chadron facing No. 5 Sidney at 4 p.m. and No. 2 Ogallala taking on No. 3 Gering at 7 p.m. Saturday’s action has the Chadron/Sidney winner facing No. 1 Alliance at 4 p.m. and Friday’s losers meeting at 7 p.m. the championship game is slated for Tuesday.
Gering, however, would love to win the tournament and earn the berth to the state tournament as the champions. Otherwise, PVC will still compete in the Class B state tournament as the host for the tourney that will be played at Oregon Trail Park Stadium beginning the last weekend in July.
“I don’t know if the focus is real good right now,” Kinnaman said. “We don’t seem to have a solid approach when we step into the batter’s box. We don’t seem to have a plan. We go up and guess at pitches. We don’t have a real focus offensively, but defensively overall, we are as good as anyone else. I don’t think we are stellar, but it is good enough to hold us up.”
A big reason for the two losses on Monday was leaving too many runners on base. Kinnaman said if Gering is to do well at the area tournament and state, they need to get back to the way they were hitting at the beginning of the season.
“We need to get the offense starting to hit the ball and running the bases,” he said. “We need to do the things that we do to win.”
The opening game saw McCook score four runs in the first three innings. After that, Gering pitcher Jack Franklin held McCook in check with three, scoreless innings.
The Gering bats also started to come alive has they scored two runs in the fourth to cut the deficit in half at 4-2. Riley Schanaman started the fourth with a walk followed by a Ryley Hoke single. Gering loaded the bases with two outs with Jerod Balthazor coming through with a single to score two runs.
Gering had runners to score more runs in the last three innings with a runner on base in the fifth and a good chance to tie the game in the seventh as Jack Franklin started things with a 2-out single and then Riley Gaudreault walked, but that was it.
McCook outhit Gering 6-5. Gering had five players that recorded singles. Balthazor had a single with two RBI to lead the team. Schanaman had a single with a walk and a stolen base.
Quinton Janecek started the game and went three innings, allowing four runs on five hits while striking out one. Franklin tossed the final three innings in allowing just one hit, no runs, and striking out three.
Gering started game two strong, leading 5-2 after 4 1/2 innings after plating three in the second, a single run in the third, and two in the fourth. Gering manufactured runs in the second and third in taking advantage of McCook errors and wild pitching.
The fourth inning saw Balthazor start things with a single followed by a Janecek double. Franklin then scored one with a run-scoring single and Janecek scored on a bases loaded hit by pitch. With the bases loaded and no outs, Gering couldn’t get any more runs across home plate.
McCook came back with five in the bottom of the fourth to capture a 7-6 lead and then added two runs each in the fifth and sixth to lead 11-6.
McCook outhit Gering 11-8 in the game. Balthhazor and Schanaman each had two hits. Schanaman and Janecek each had doubles. Janecek and Brady Radzymski each had a stolen base in the contest.
Justin Scott started and went 3 1/3 innings in allowing six hits and six runs, while striking out two. Balthazor finished off the game, going 2 2/3 innings in allowing six hits, five runs and also striking out two.
Gering PVC 000 200 0 – 2 5 0
McCook 013 000 x – 4 6 1
LP – Quinton Janecek.
Gering PVC 031 200 0 – 6 8 2
McCook 110 522 x – 11 12 4
LP – Jerod Balthazor.
2B – Quinton Janecek, Riley Schanaman.