Bryce Peterson’s single to score Shintaro Inoue in the ninth inning was the game winner for the Western Nebraska Community College baseball team as they topped Trinidad State College 6-5 in extra innings at Cleveland Field in an Empire Conference contest.
The win stopped a 19-game losing skid and Peterson said it was a huge win for the team.
“This win is huge,” Peterson said. “We are right there. We have a lot of things to work on but we are going in the right direction.”
The win was huge because Trinidad captured the first game of the doubleheader 19-2, scoring 16 runs in the first two innings before the Cougars held them in check the rest of the way.
Focus was the key in both games on Friday in the loss and the win. The Cougars lost focus in the first game and couldn’t climb out of the 16-0 deficit, but in game two, WNCC never lost that focus as they kept Trinidad in check until they got the opportunity to tie the score in the seventh.
Peterson said the team never lost focus in the contest that they won and kept the game in reach. WNCC scored three runs in the seventh inning to tie the contest and force extras. And he said his winning base hit was set up by what the other hitters did.
“It was awesome. It was good to turn things around and I couldn’t have done it without Shintaro,” he said.
“We never lost focus and we got runners on and took advantage of their errors and scored the three runs,” Peterson said.
That second game was a battle from the start. Trinidad opened the scoring with two runs in the second, but WNCC’s Jacob Jackson sliced the deficit in half with a solo home run.
Trinidad went up 4-1 with a single run in the third and then another one in the sixth.
WNCC entered their final at bat of regulation trailing 4-1. That was when the magic came. WNCC loaded the bases on three straight free passes. Inoue then hit a sacrifice fly to score one run. Then Ethan Johnson scores on an error while Eli Hernandez and Joseph Toubeaux each score on passed balls to tie the game.
Neither team scored in the eighth inning. The ninth saw Trinidad State plate one on a passed ball to take a 5-4 lead.
WNCC came right back as Roangeraud Fraai was hit by a pitch and came in to score on a Inoue triple to tie the game. Peterson than stepped to the plate with no outs and the freshman took the first pitch and drove a line drive to centerfield to score the winning run. Peterson was then mobbed by his teammates at second base with the game-winning hit.
WNCC had six hits in the contest. Peterson and Inoue each had two hits. Inoue had a triple and scored a run. Peterson had two singles with the big game-winning RBI.
WNCC utilized three pitchers. Firmin Hassed started and went four innings, allowing four hits, three runs, while striking out five. Archer Blumenshein followed with 4 2/3 innings of work allowing two hits, two runs, and five strikeouts. Valentin Blanc picked up the win in tossing just a third of an inning in allowing two hits with a strikeout.
The first game saw WNCC start slow as the Cougars spotted Trinidad 16 runs in the first two innings. After the Trojans first two at bats, WNCC came back and battled Trinidad. WNCC scored twice in the bottom of the second. Peterson and Drew Book led off with back-to-back singles. Peterson would later come in on an error and then Book would score on a passed ball.
WNCC finished with eight hits in the contest compared to 18 for Trinidad. Peterson led the team at the plate with two singles and a run scored. Isaac Smith also had two singles in the loss.
WNCC will be back in action Wednesday when they travel to Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colorado, for a doubleheader.
Trinidad 6(10)0 30 – 19 18 2
WNCC 020 00 – 2 8 2
LP – Nicolas Tremblay.
Trinidad 021 001 001 – 5 8 1
WNCC 010 000 302 – 6 6 0
WP – Valentin Blanc.
3B – Shintaro Inoue.
HR – Jacob Jackson