The Blair Reserve Legion baseball team needed two wins Thursday to claim the Class C state tournament title.
The Omaha Roncalli Catholic freshman had bested the Bears 13-6 earlier in the week, but the Pride couldn't fend off coach James Daubenspeck's team with the title on the line. The Bears won game No. 1 at Boyd Field in Omaha, 12-6, and earned a 10-9 victory in the winner-take-all championship game that followed.
Hayden Berg provided the walk-off hit that won it all for the Bears. Conner Jensen earned the pitching win, while Cameron Babbitt, Ethan Baessler and he each notched two hits during the final. Baessler also made a game-saving catch in centerfield, according to Daubenspeck.
In the night's first game, Ryder Kyle, Lance Hume and Liam Webber logged two hits apiece. Morgan Harper earned the win on the mound.
Blair and five more teams opened tournament play July 25. The Bears earned a 5-2 win against Wahoo before losing that initial game against Roncalli on July 28.
Post 154 then avoided elimination with a 9-4 win against the Northeast Hammers. Blair took the lead for good in that key victory with a four-run bottom of the second inning. Berg, Baessler and Webber notched RBIs, while Blaine Rosenbaum scored on an error, to push the Bears' lead to 6-2.
The Reserve squad ended its summer season with a 11-5-1 record.
Juniors beat Concordia 22-17
The Blair Junior Legion baseball team ended its summer season with fireworks last week.
The Bears scored 22 runs against Omaha Concordia on July 28, earning a 22-17 victory to finish with a 13-8 record.
Coach Cris Aguilera's team started official practice less than two months earlier due to COVID-19. It took advantage of the time it had, though, facing opposition as often as the calendar would allow.
“This was definitely a challenging season with all the games one after the other,” Aguilera said a day after the conclusion. “I'm sure it was taxing on the boys as well.”
Even so, Post 348 left the 2020 campaign with a offensive display. Its five-run fifth inning broke a tie and gave the Bears a win to close on.
Eli Morgan opened the decisive frame with a leadoff walk before Luke Ladwig reached base on a Concordia error. Lee Chavez then singled before Hunter Travis pushed across the go-ahead runs with a another.
Conner O'Neil capped the game's scoring with a 3-run homer, which pushed Blair's lead to its eventual margin of victory.
Post 348's scoring started just as it ended. Shea Wendt gave the Bears their first run with solo home run during the top of the first inning. Greyson Kay added an RBI and two more runs scored on errors as Aguilera's team built an early lead.
Blair's biggest inning, however, was the second when it scored seven runs. Ladwig and Morgan notched RBI doubles, while Tyler Andersen tallied an RBI single.
Matt Burns, however, had the standout hit of the inning — a three-RBI double.
“Last night's game made me proud because they found a way to grind out a win when we had completely lost the momentum,” Aguilera said. “Good group of young gentlemen with lots of talent. A few boys really stepped up to become true leaders also. Very proud of them.”