Ty Hallberg started and emphatically finished opening day at the Fort Calhoun ballfields Friday evening.
“... He put in work,” coach Brandon Wynn said. “Just a ballplayer.”
The right-hander threw the season's first pitch to start the Junior Legion game and notched the walk-off hit to win the Seniors' matchup nearly 6 hours later. The Pioneers topped Valley 9-8 in the nightcap to move to 1-0 after its original season opener was rained out the night before.
Hallberg's varsity squad actually blew a 7-1 lead against Valley, but earned the win anyway after Joel Fern reached base during the bottom of the seventh inning. He reached third on an error before Hallberg knocked him in for the victory. Jake Seina earned the pitching win, though he split duties on the mound with Tylan Connor and Zach Faucher.
Earlier on, Fort Calhoun built its advantage with five runs during the third inning. Hallberg pushed across the Pioneers' first run with an RBI single that scored Faucher, tying the Seniors game at 1.
Justin Myer added a two-run knock to centerfield, while Cole Klabunde added his own RBI and Faucher walked in the fifth run of the frame. The lineup's efforts resulted in a 5-1 advantage.
The Seniors' one-run victory followed the Juniors' 3-2 defeat. Hallberg started that game with a first-pitch strike before recording the season's first out on a foul pop. Dillon Dierks tracked down a fly ball in right field and Sam Halford got his glove on a groundball to end the top of the first inning.
Hallberg then led off the next half frame with a single that snuck out of the infield between Valley's third baseman and shortstop. He also notched his team's first steal of the summer, though the visitors eventually earned the one-run victory.
The hometown Pioneers returned the favor just a few hours later.
Grant Hansen of FC Live Radio (mixlr.com/ftcactivities) contributed to this report.