The Western Nebraska Community College baseball team played well defensively, but Lamar Community College scored two, 9th-inning runs to prevail 4-3 in an Empire Conference game Saturday afternoon at Cleveland Field.
The loss was the second straight last-inning defeat for the Cougars. WNCC lost to NJC in the bottom of the seventh 3-2 on Thursday.
WNCC falls to 7-17 in conference play while Lamar moves to 16-9. The Cougars trail Otero for the final tournament spot. Otero is 12-13 in conference play. The Rattlers have a four-game series with conference leading Trinidad State Sunday and Monday.
WNCC coach Mike Jones said it was a good battle between the two teams and his squad just made a few mistakes that ended up costing them.
“We did some things really well and then we made four or five mistakes that hurt us,” Jones said. “If we could eliminate some of those mistakes, we came away with the win.”
The Cougars even outhit Lamar 10-6 and they had good pitching.
“Alex Oehme pitched an excellent game for us,” Jones said. “Then Tyler Olson was able to contribute with some, what we call, team at-bats. Jonathan Bermudez hit the ball really well. We did do a lot of things well. Unfortunately, a few of our mistakes cost us.”
Saturday’s Lamar contest was a game the Cougars played well enough to win. WNCC struck first by scoring two in the second. Bermudez led off with a double and scored on a Olson single. After a Tyler Shubert single, Olson would come around to score on an error for the 2-0 lead.
Lamar came back with single runs in the third and fourth to tie the game.
WNCC immediately went back in front 3-2 with a single run in the fourth. Bermudez leads off with a single followed by a bunt single by Olson. Claude Bova drives in Bermudez with a single to line drive with no outs. The Cougars then couldn’t get any more runs in.
Neither team scored the next four innings as both defenses were playing strong. The ninth inning turned out to be the difference as Lamar mounted a rally. Lamar scored two runs on three walks and just one hit to grab its first lead of the game at 4-3.
WNCC couldn’t get anything going in its final at bat to suffer the heartbreaking loss.
Olson and Bermudez led the offense with three hits each. Olson had all singles, while scoring a run and knocking a run in. Bermudez had a double and two runs scored.
Alex Oehme started the contest and went six strong innings. Oehme scattered five hits giving up two runs while striking out five. Hunter Parker tossed the last three innings in suffering the loss. Parker allowed one hit and two runs, while striking out three.
WNCC will look to get back in the win column when they host Northeastern Junior College in a doubleheader on Wednesday beginning at 1 p.m.
Jones said his team need to start winning because they are running out of time.
“We have to keep learning from our mistakes,” he said. “We have to come back right back at it on Wednesday. We really have to start winning some of these conference games. We are running out of time and we have to play better on Wednesday.”
Lamar 001 100 002 – 4 6 1
WNCC 020 100 000 – 3 10 1
LP – Hunter Parker
2B – Jonathan Berudez