It all will come down to the final day of the regular season to decide if the Western Nebraska Community College baseball team will punch a ticket into the Region IX Tournament or not after splitting a doubleheader with Lamar Community College Saturday afternoon at Cleveland Field.
WNCC came back from a 3-1 deficit in the first game thanks to a three-run home run from Brevin Owen to earn a 5-3 win. Lamar evened things up by grabbing a 13-2 win in game two.
WNCC and Southeast Community College are now tied for the final playoff spot with 19-16 conference records. Southeast defeated Otero 4-1 and 10-0 on Saturday.
A win by WNCC over Lamar today combined with a Southeast loss to Otero would put the Cougars into the postseason. Southeast will take the final spot with a win and a WNCC loss.
If both teams win or lose, a one-game playoff will be held on Wednesday for the final spot into the regional tournament.
WNCC coach Mike Jones said Sunday’s game is crucial just to play another game.
“The message will be that it is a playoff situation already. We are not in the playoffs yet, but it Is a playoff game for us,” he said. “It is a win or done situation for us so it will be important for us to be disciplined and focused. We will make a mistake, and everybody makes mistakes, but if we make a mistake we can’t panic and make sure we overcome any mistakes that we make.”
Jones said Chandler Young will get the start on the mound on Sunday, but he expects plenty of bullpen pitching from both teams on Sunday.
“We hope he will give us a fighting chance early in the game tomorrow,” Jones said. “It will be a 9-inning game and bullpen matchup late. It will be important for us to keep everything close early and then let our offense get some stuff done.”
They did that in game one with a big comeback to get the first-game win. Hunter Parker and SJ Mousseau pitched well in the first game to give WNCC a chance.
Trailing 3-0, WNCC plated a run in the fourth. Ethan Miller started things with a 2-out double and scored on a fielding error off a hit by Luis Alcantara.
WNCC took the lead with four in the fifth. Matt Womack started the inning getting hit by a pitch. Braden Lofink followed by walking and then Michael Felton singled to load the bases. WNCC scored one run on a fielder’s choice hit to make it 3-2 before Owen took a full-count pitch deep over the rightfield fence for the 5-3 lead.
Mousseau then came in and shut the door for the win.
WNCC outhit Lamar 6-5. Felton and Miller each had two hits. Miller had a double with a run scored. Owen had a home run and three RBIs in the game.
Parker went five strong innings, scattering four hits and allowing three runs while striking out six. Mousseau went two innings to get the save, allowing a hit and striking out two.
The second game was a pitcher’s dual early. Lamar scored one in the first before WNCC plated two in the fifth for a 2-1 lead. After that, Lamar struck for 12 runs in the final two innings for the win.
WNCC managed just five hits in the contest. Owen and Miller each had two hits in the contest. Owen had two RBIs with that big hit in the fifth.
Lamar 210 000 0 – 3 5 2
WNCC 000 140 x – 5 6 1
WP – Hunter Parker, S – SJ Mousseau.
2B – Ethan “Q” Miller.
HR – Brevin Owen.
Lamar 100 004 8 – 13 10 2
WNCC 000 020 0 – 2 5 3
LP – Garrett DeClue.