STERLING, Colo. – The Western Nebraska Community College baseball team entered Wednesday’s doubleheader with Northeastern Junior College leading the Empire Conference with the fewest losses.
Wednesday, the Cougars dropped two heart-breaking losses to NJC. The first game saw the Plainsmen score three seventh-inning runs in earning the 9-8 win. The second game was just as intense with NJC overcoming a 2-1 deficit with four late runs to earn the 5-2 win.
The losses drop WNCC to 14-12 in conference play while NJC goes to 18-12. Trinidad State and Lamar now lead the conference with just 11 losses each, while Southeast Community College, who the Cougars will host this weekend at Cleveland Field, are right behind with 14 losses.
The first game was a one the Cougars gave away. WNCC held an 8-6 lead heading in the bottom of the seventh but allowed three runs to cross the plate for the loss.
WNCC trailed 4-2 after three innings but went up 6-4 with four runs in the fourth. Ethan “Q” Miller started the inning with a walk and scored on a Harrison Yates triple. After two outs, Ty McAninch singled in Yates with the tying run. Dermot Fritsch and Brevin Owen followed with run-scoring singles for the lead.
NJC tied the game with two in the fifth only to watch WNCC score single runs in the sixth and seventh for the 8-6 led.
WNCC was outhit 9-7 in the game. Owen was the only Cougar with multiple hits with two. Yates was the only Cougar with an extra base hit with a triple. Yates, Mitch Osborne, and Michael Felton each scored two runs.
The second game saw WNCC trail 1-0 after three innings but came back in the fourth with two runs on a 2-run home run by Brevin Owen for a 2-1 lead. NJC came back to score twice in the fourth and added two in the sixth for the 5-2 win.
NJC outhit the Cougars 10-5. No Cougar had more than one hit. Owen had a home run with two RBIs, while Braden Lofink had the other extra base hit with a double.
Kyler Harris took the loss in pitching 3 2/3 innings in scattering six hits, allowing three runs, and striking out three. Garrett DeClue finished off the game allowing four hits, two runs, and striking out three.
WNCC will be back in action Saturday when they host Southeast Community College at 1 p.m. in a doubleheader at Cleveland Field.
WNCC 101 401 1 – 8 7 2
NJC 301 020 3 – 9 9 0
LP – Nate Kolb.
3B – Harrison Yates.
WNCC 000 200 0 – 2 5 0
NJC 001 202 x – 5 10 1
LP – Kyler Harris.
2B – Braden Lofink.
HR – Brevin Owen.