Ben Aguilera's pitch count rose quickly Sunday on the Omaha Westside High School baseball diamond.
The Blair Senior Legion lefty walked the first two Warrior batters he faced on full-count pitches.
“I was trying to find the zone at the beginning,” he said. “I was losing it a little bit, but then I came back and got in there. Had to trust my defense.”
Aguilera and that Bears defense wound up keeping the 18-8 Westside bats in check for the duration, earning a 5-2 road victory. The winning pitcher allowed just one run and struck out three before Quincy Nichols stepped in to relieve him in the sixth.
During that first inning — and after the two full-count walks — Aguilera forced a lineout from the third Warrior he faced before Morgan Rump, AJ Bilslend and Colin Quick combined for a double play to end the inning. The infield and outfield made plays throughout the game, never committing an error.
Centerfielder Auggie Rasmussen lost a high fly ball at one point and had to let it drop, but threw it on a string to Jacob Rodriguez at third base for a force out.
“It's always nice on turf,” Rasmussen said of Westside's playing surface. “You can cover a lot more ground. There's nothing dragging or anything. It's a lot easier to run on it.”
The Warriors wouldn't end up scoring their first run until after Blair took a 2-0 lead in the third. Shea Wendt led off the Bears' top half with a double down the left field line. Canton Lippincott stepped in to run for the catcher and later scored on Rasmussen's sacrifice.
Nichols followed with his own bloop down the line to reach second before Bilslend scored him on a single to left field.
Coach James Bilslend's team would hold its 2-1 advantage until the top of the sixth when Post 154 added three security runs. Wendt's RBI single scored Rump before Rasmussen tripled off of the outfield fence for two more — represented by Lippincott and Nolan Osterhaus.
“It wouldn't have happened if nobody got on base,” Rasmussen said. “We had good, solid bloopers. There's nothing wrong with them.”
Westside tallied its second run during the bottom of the seventh frame, but fell by three after managing just five total hits to the Bears' nine. The win was Blair's third straight.
“We got three now, so we're going to keep it rolling,” Aguilera said. “Just keep playing hard.”
Stewart leads Blair to 6-0 win
In his first start since no-hitting Bennington on July 16, Jason Stewart went seven more innings and held Omaha Roncalli scoreless Tuesday at Vets Field.
The 6-0 victory pushed the Blair Bears' winning streak to four as they improved to 13-9 overall.
Stewart allowed just two hits against the Pride and struck out seven batters. Nichols led the victorious team with three hits, while Bilslend knocked in four runs.
Blair next plays two games Saturday against Beatrice. The doubleheader starts at 1 p.m. on Vets Field.