The Western Nebraska Community College baseball team dropped an Empire Conference doubleheader to Lamar Community College on Friday at Cleveland Field.
The opener saw Lamar score five late runs to register the 5-1 win. The second contest saw an offensive game with the teams combining for 15 runs and 19 hits, but the Lopes posted the 9-6 win.
The loss was WNCC’s third straight and drops the Cougars to 5-8 in conference action and 7-23 overall. Lamar moves to 7-7 in the conference and 14-15 overall.
WNCC coach Mike Jones said his team played up and down.
“We were real streaky today. We had some really good innings and some really bad innings,” Jones said. “For us it is important to control innings a little bit better defensively that we are able to do. Offensively we have to start doing some of the little things to help us manufacture more runs instead of play for the big inning.”
The second game was much better played than the first game. Lamar and WNCC were tied at 6-6 after four innings in game two only to watch the Lopes score three late runs to get the win.
“We had opportunities to score more runs than what we did,” Jones said. “A few more big hits with the bases loaded and we get back in it and get the game under control and on our side. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to come up with the hits with the bases loaded.”
WNCC did plenty of things right in game two, including out hitting Lamar 11-8. The difference, though, was getting clutch hits when they needed to.
“We need those clutch hits with guys on base,” Jones said. “But that is baseball. That is the way it goes. It is not like we aren’t trying. Guys are trying; we are just not quite able to come up with the big hits right now.”
Lamar had control of the game early, leading 6-1 after 4 ½ innings. It was the bottom of the fourth where the Cougars started to get those big hits. It all started with back-to-back singles by Tyler Olson and Esai Hernandez. Tommy McRill followed with the big hit, a 3-run home to cut the deficit to 6-4.
Mitch Lightbody followed with a 2-out single and came around to score on a double by Cole Williams. Williams scored on a Brandan Maher single to knot the score.
Lamar came right back to grab a 7-6 lead in the sixth and plated two insurance runs in the seventh.
WNCC had the bases loaded in the fifth but couldn’t get a run in and had an opportunity to score again in the sixth, but couldn’t do it.
WNCC finished with 11 hits in the contest, led by Hernandez with three singles. Olson and Williams each had two hits. Williams had a double with a RBI and run scored, while Olson had two runs scored.
WNCC used three pitchers in the contest. Claude Bova started and went three innings in giving up five hits and three runs scored while striking out two. Hunter Parker went three innings in allowing a hit with four runs scored and striking out four. Jacob Pekol finished off the game, tossing the seventh while allowing two hits and two runs. Pekol also fanned two batters.
The first game was a masterful pitching performance from Alex Oehme through four innings with WNCC taking a 1-0 lead. Lightbody reached base on catcher’s interference with two outs. Williams fame through with a run-scoring triple for the lead. WNCC loaded the bases but couldn’t get another run in the frame.
Lamar, who out hit WNCC 11-4, scored twice in the fifth and seventh, and a single run in the sixth.
WNCC’s four hits game from the first four batters in the lineup. Williams had the only extra base hit.
Oehme went six innings in scattering eight hits while giving up three runs. Oehme also struck out six. Zach Berg finished off the game, tossing the seventh in allowing three hits, two runs, and striking out two.
WNCC will have a week off before their next contests when they travel to Trinidad State Junior College next weekend for a 3-game series.
“It is not going to get any easier on us,” Jones said. “We will get back to work after the holiday and get ready to play Trinidad Saturday and Sunday.”
Lamar 000 021 2 – 5 11 1
WNCC 001 000 0 – 1 4 0
LP – Alex Oehme
3B – Cole Williams
Lamar 012 301 2 – 9 8 1
WNCC 010 500 0 – 6 11 3
LP – Hunter Parker.
2B – Cole Williams
HR – Tommy McRill