The Post 154 Blair Bears' sixth hit ended Wednesday's American Legion baseball game at Vets Field an inning early.
Jacob Rodriguez's RBI single finished off his team's 8-0, six-inning home victory against Washington County foe Fort Calhoun. A day after blasting Waterloo-Valley 20-2 with 19 hits, the Senior Legion Bears had to grind out runs against the game Post 348 Pioneers.
“We just followed our coaches' advice,” Rodriguez said. “Level swing. Keep your head on … Just be ready.”
Fort Calhoun, meanwhile, was aware it was in for a tough test against Blair.
“We knew they were a good ball club and we knew they were going to hit the ball,” starting pitcher Tylan Conner said. “We just needed to play defense, and it was a close game. It was just a few plays that put them ahead.”
After the Pioneers' Benaiah and Joel Fern reached base with a walk and a single to start, the Bears responded with the game's first run during the bottom half of the opening inning. Jack Nielsen tallied a leadoff infield single before Colin Quick's two-out, RBI blooper to shallow right field. The ball landed just out of reach of Ty Hallberg's glove.
Justin Myer added the second — and final — Fort Calhoun hit during the top of the second frame before Blair took control of the game with three runs in the bottom half. AJ Bilslend's two-RBI double scored Ben Aguilera and Nielsen before the Bears went ahead 4-0 on a Pioneer error.
Two more Post 154 runs scored on an error in the fourth inning before Nielsen and Rodriguez recorded the game-ending RBIs in the sixth.
In total, Blair only outhit Fort Calhoun 6-2 during the eight run victory. Bears pitcher Quincy Nichols notched the two-hit, six-strikeout win, while Conner surrendered just four hits in four innings in defeat. Hallberg threw in relief for the Pioneers, giving up just two hits — which included Rodriguez's game-ender.
Bears lose 2 to Columbus
After improving to 22-4 on Wednesday, the Blair Seniors hit a bump in the road Saturday at Vets Field.
Errors and walks added up as Columbus Cornerstone swept a doubleheader 10-4 and 9-1. It outhit the Bears just 16-13, but committed six less errors — 1-to-7.
In the first contest, Post 154 led 2-0 before Columbus outscored the Bears 10-2 the rest of the way. Caddon Keatts and Bilslend each notched three hits in defeat.
The second game belonged to Columbus. Cornerstone score three runs during the second inning, two in the fourth and then four in the fourth to best the Bears.
Auggie Rasmussen hit a third-inning single before stealing both second and third base. Bilslend then hit a sac fly to push him across the plate for Blair's lone run.