Squeeze bunt in eighth pushes Gering past North Platte

 It took an extra inning and a suicide squeeze, but the Gering Platte Valley Companies senior legion baseball team earned an 8-6 road win over North Platte Wednesday.

In the top of the eighth inning, Anthony Walker laid down a bunt with the bases loaded to score Jerod Balthazor, giving Gering a 7-6 lead before Quinton Janecek later scored on an error making it 8-6.

Gering is now 10-5-1 heading back east for the weekend, where they will play a tournament in Crete.

Head coach Rick Kinnaman said that it wasn’t a pretty game, with nine errors between the two teams, but it showed that Gering is a resilient team.

“Both teams were playing a little sloppy,” Kinnaman said. “We gave them some runs and dug ourselves in a hole that we had to get out of. But that’s probably the best thing to come out of tonight. We were resilient enough to fight back and get a win.”

It was a roller coaster game for Gering, who jumped ahead with four runs in the opening inning. But North Platte came storming back with a run in the second and four in the third to regain the lead.

Kinnaman said that getting a solid first inning was good to see as Gering has struggled with opening games this year.

“We came out and jumped on them pretty good,” he said. “We put some pressure on them, which is something we haven’t been doing much this year.”

Both teams went scoreless in the middle innings before Gering tied the game in the sixth when Janecek doubled to left, scoring Adreick Conn.

Gering faced the final three outs after North Platte went back ahead in the bottom of the sixth with a run for the 6-5 lead. But it was the first of two squeeze plays that put the game into extra innings. Justin Scott led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Riley Gaudreault put a bunt back to the pitcher to drive in Scott, tying the game at 6-6.

In the eighth, it was the second squeeze play of the game that gave Gering the go-ahead run before an error allowed an insurance run to score. Brady Radzymski closed out the bottom of the eighth on the mound in four batters.

Scott and Janecek led the Gering offense with two hits each, both with a double on the contest. Scott scored twice and drove in one while Janecek finished with a run and one RBI.

Walker, Gaudreault, Ryley Hoke and Keon Booker all contributed a RBI each.

Scott, Walker and Radzymski all saw action on the hill. Scott started, pitching four innings, allowing five unearned runs on three hits with three strikeouts. Walker lasted 1 2/3, with two strikeouts and a run. Radzymski pitched the final 2 1/3, keeping North Platte hitless in the late innings.

Gering PVC 410 001 12 ­— 8 8 5

North Platte 014 001 00 — 6 5 4

WP — Brady Radzymski

LP — Eli Cox

2B — Gering (Quinton Janecek, Justin Scott).

Sports Reporter

Preston Goehring is a staff reporter at the Star-Herald. Contact him at 308-632-9051 or by email at preston.goehring@starherald.com.

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