The Blair Senior Legion baseball team squared off against the spring season's Class B champions Tuesday, surrendering 13 hits in an 8-2 loss at Bennington.
“They bunted,” Post 154 coach James Bilslend said. “They bunted a lot.”
The Bears (5-2 overall) managed 10 hits themselves, knocking the ball all over the field of play, but it was the Badgers who produced runs with their approach.
“We clearly outhit them,” Bilslend said. “We just got small-balled today and we got taught a baseball lesson. That's just how that worked.”
Bennington started the scoring with an RBI double against pitcher Jason Stewart in the second inning. With two runners on base and one out, the Badgers added two more runs on a single and then an RBI bunt.
The home team employed its bunting strategy again during the third frame. The leadoff batter bunted onto base before he was moved over to second on another bunt. The next Bennington batter doubled to the right field wall, pushing the score to 4-0.
Blair looked poised to answer during the top of the fourth inning when Auggie Rasmussen singled, Colin Quick walked and Jacob Rodriguez singled to load the bases. Three-straight strikeouts, however, ended the Bears' threat.
“That hurt,” Bilslend said. “We had the guys up there, we just couldn't — for some reason — get a run out of it.”
The host Badgers went ahead 7-0 before Quick notched an RBI single during the fifth inning. Jack Nielsen's infield single pushed Max Nickerson across the plate for Post 154's second run.
In the end, Blair just couldn't match Bennington's output.
“The kids are all here to play baseball,” Bilslend said. “We just ran into a baseball school today.”
Blair Seniors take first loss
The Gross Cougars' 5-4 walk-off win was Blair's first Senior Legion baseball loss Sunday afternoon in Omaha.
The Post 154 Bears tied the score at four during the top of the seventh inning, but Gross answered with a run of its own during the bottom half to pull out the victory. Coach Bilslend's team fell to 5-1 in defeat.
Rasmussen led Blair with two RBIs and a homer, while AJ Bilslend and Stewart tallied one RBI each. Rodriguez notched a triple.
Quick pitched 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven Gross batters.
Juniors win SSC tournament
Coach Cris Aguilera's Post 154 Juniors won a South Sioux City tournament over the weekend, winning three games by scores 6-1, 11-0 and 9-2.
He said it was a week of strong performances for the Bears.
On Tuesday, though, Bennington topped Blair 4-3. Canton Lippincott and Cade Ulven had RBIs, but the Badgers won with a run during the bottom half of the second inning.