Fort Calhoun Senior Legion baseball coach Brandon Wynn and outfielder Jamie Warner had talked about it all season.
So, with the latter on third base and Kearney's left-handed pitcher throwing out of the wind-up, the speedster made the decision to steal home plate.
“It's a good situation where you can do it,” Warner said Saturday, citing how the Jersey's Bar & Grill hurler had his back turned to him. “And it's a cool thing to do.”
The pitch and the thief nearly arrived at the same time, but the Post 348 Pioneer slid in head-first for the sixth run of his team's 6-2 win. After a loss to Omaha Concordia on Friday, Fort Calhoun secured its fifth win of the season on the second day of the Battle at the Fort Tournament.
“I closed my eyes, kind of ran into the catcher, but it wasn't too bad,” Warner said.
The Pioneers beat Kearney and the heat as temperatures flirted with triple digits Saturday afternoon.
“It was a gritty win,” Warner added. “That was a good Kearney team we played. Jake Seina came out and threw well, and Kaden (Therkildsen) worked behind the plate. Everybody did their job today.”
Seina, Post 348's starter, ran into some trouble during the sixth inning when he walked in a Kearney run — its second of the game. But the righty buckled down and got the third out with third baseman Tylan Conner pulling down a foul pop.
Still ahead 4-2,Warner pushed Benaiah Fern across the plate with an RBI double before taking matters into his own hands and stealing the Pioneers' sixth run. The four-run advantage through six innings was plenty for Seina, who record two strikeouts after his team scored its first out on a fielder's choice ground ball.
“Once I hit the fourth inning, I was just, like, 'I got to do what I do for my team,'” the winning pitcher said. “I just went out there and focused on throwing strikes.”
Seina finished with a six-hit complete game. Fern, Conner and Justin Meyer added RBIs for Fort Calhoun, and pinch-runner Nate Bonacci scored a fourth-inning passed ball.
All-in-all, the Pioneers seemed pretty pleased with their victory, grinning through the heat as they emptied out of the home dugout during the Battle at the Fort.
Seniors fall to Concordia
The Post 348 Pioneers opened the Battle at the Fort with two runs during the bottom of the first inning. They added two more Friday during the third, taking a 4-2 lead against Omaha Concordia.
Unfortunately for the hosts, the Mustangs scored the next 10 runs, winning 12-4. They outhit Fort Calhoun 9-3.
Conner spent the most time on the mound for Post 348, pitching 3 1/3 innings with two strikeouts. The loss dropped the Pioneers to 4-9 before they picked up their fifth win Saturday afternoon.