Kaden Therkildsen wanted something a little extra out of his final at-bat before going off to Morningside College to play football.
The Fort Calhoun Senior Legion catcher thought stepping into the box with a wood bat, which are typically reserved for wood-bat tourneys at the Legion level, would do the trick.
First, Therkildsen asked teammate Justin Myer if he could use his.
“He said, 'no,'” the recent high school grad said, rolling his eyes as he recalled it.
The catcher continued to ask around, and his classmate provided the solution.
“Cole (Klabunde) said he's got a wood bat in the back of his El Camino,” Therkildsen said. “And I was like, 'Yeah, let's just give it a shot.'”
The slugger's fifth-inning wood-bat shot wound up hitting the ground only after clearing the outfield fence in Fort Calhoun. Minutes later, the Pioneers' seniors — Therkildsen, Klabunde and Joel Fern — were celebrating a prep career-ending 10-2 victory over North Bend. The trio combined to push across nine of Post 348's 10 runs.
“I just started jogging around first and it was gone,” Therkildsen said of his 2-run homer that pushed the score to 9-2. Fern ended the game by run-rule just two batters later.
“It was pretty good, all-around teamwork,” the infielder said after knocking in Dillon Dierks, who stepped in to run for Klabunde. “Just putting the ball in play. Adjusting to the pitcher.”
Fort Calhoun pitcher Jake Seina, meanwhile, earned the day's win. He also notched an RBI single during the fourth inning.
“I think the last two games were about as well as we played all season,” Pioneers coach Brandon Wynn said. “Makes you wish they could have done something out of the gate.”
Overall, Post 348's Senior team finished 4-8 during its COVID-19 shortened season. It won its opener in mid-June, but didn't notched wins three and four until the last week.
“Better than nothing,” Klabunde said when asked what he thought of the 12-game baseball season. “I'm glad we at least got some baseball in.”
Wynn was glad, too. The coach believes his Pioneers could have won more, but the last outing of the season was a good one to end on.
“It was a good game today. I'm really proud of them,” he said. “Especially the seniors. They pretty much lifted everything today. That whole last inning was them.”
Those seniors posed for pictures with celebratory, colorful leis around their necks when it was all done.
“It was fun,” Klabunde said with a laugh. “It didn't suck.”
Therkildsen's final at-bat didn't either. His wood-bat swing blew the North Bend pitch into the trees beyond the left field fence.
Pioneers earn walk-off win
The Fort Calhoun Senior Legion baseball team also earned a walk-off win in eight innings Wednesday night.
Seina made contact on a swing and scored Dierks at the end of the 8-7 victory over Valley. The win was Post 348's third of the summer season.
Coach Wynn's team only reached the eighth inning after scoring five runs in the seventh to pull even with the Dirtbags. Tristan Fuhrman scored the game-tying run when he stole home. He and Austin Welchert each went 3-for-4 for the night.
Juniors win last 2, too
The Fort Calhoun Junior Legion baseball team also notched two wins to end its 2020 campaign.
They won 4-1 Wednesday night before Ty Hallberg earned a complete game, 11-3 win against North Bend on Saturday.
The Post 348 Juniors went 4-0 over their last full week of their season, winning the Battle at the Fort Tournament on July 18.