Hunter Parker went six strong innings on the mound and the Western Nebraska Community College baseball team scored five, fifth-inning runs to take an Empire Conference game from No. 18 Trinidad State Junior College 6-3 Saturday afternoon at Cleveland Field.
Parker a freshman from Centennial, Colorado, struck out nine in six innings of work while giving up just two runs.
Saturday’s win was huge for WNCC after dropping a doubleheader to Trinidad 9-2 and 9-4 on Friday.
“Against a team like Trinidad, they are top dogs right now and today we also proved we are one of the top dogs,” Parker said. “To go out against a team like Trinidad and to show and get everything going is something to show the other teams in the conference that.”
The vaults WNCC back into second place in the conference race with a 5-5 record and 7-20 overall. Trinidad is still on top with a 13-2 record and 25-6 overall.
Parker said the team had a complete game from start to finish.
“We played really good as a team,” Parker said. “We had some good defensive plays and we went out there and swung the bats. Everything came together.”
The defenses proved crucial on Saturday. Both pitching staffs gave up seven hits and each team limited the other team to just one run in a inning, except for a crucial fifth inning that saw WNCC plate five runs to come back from a 2-1 deficit.
The fifth inning became crucial and it all started with Claude Bova ripping a single to centerfield. Cooper Buchhammer then laid down a bunt for a sacrifice, but instead it went over the third baseman’s head for a bunt single. Mitch Lightbody then loaded the bases with one out by reaching on an error.
Cole Williams then came through with the tying run, ripping a single. Maher then earned a walk to force in the go-ahead run, 3-2. Tyler Olson then came through with a 2-out single to drive in two and then Maher scored on a balk for the 5-2 lead.
Parker said this game was something they needed from both the offense and defense.
“The defense came up huge when I needed clutch plays behind me,” Parker said. “The defense really helped out and gave me confidence on the mound.”
WNCC finished with seven hits in the contest with seven different players getting a hit when they needed to. Brandan Maher had the only extra base hit with a double and a run scored. Tyler Olson had two RBIs in the game.
Six different players also scored a run for the Cougars as well.
Parker picked up the win in his six innings of work, while Jacob Pekol earned the save. Pekol finished out the game, tossing three innings in allowing just one hit, one run, and striking out five.
WNCC will next be in action Tuesday when they travel to McCook for a 9-inning game before hosting Lamar Community College on Friday and Saturday in a 3-game series.
Trinidad 010 010 001 – 3 7 2
WNCC 010 050 00x – 6 7 3
WP – Hunter Parker
S – Jacob Pekol
2B – Brandon Maher.