The Blair baseball team opened its Eastern Midlands Conference (EMC) third-place game with a pair of first-inning runs.
From there, though, things largely went downhill Thursday at Lawson Park in Waverly, culminating in a pair of BHS ejections during the top of the fifth frame. The host Vikings, meanwhile, picked up their third win of the season against the Bears, claiming third in the conference tourney by 15-5 score.
Sixth-seeded BHS fell to 6-11 this season, finishing 1-2 in EMC bracket play with a first-round upset of Class B No. 8 Bennington on April 12.
“A lot of stuff didn't go our way,” Bears coach John Roan said of Thursday's run-rule loss. “We actually hit the ball really well, we just hit it right at people. That's baseball sometimes.”
Blair didn't need a hit to jump out to a 2-0 lead, however. Brady Brown walked and Shea Wendt was hit by a Waverly pitch before both scored on passed balls during the top of the first inning.
The two-run advantage didn't hold long, though, as the Vikings scored four of their own during the bottom half. A two-RBI single evened the score before a passed ball, and another RBI knock, gave the home team a 4-2 lead.
The Bears' J'shawn Unger turned a double play — and Wendt recorded a strikeout — to end the Waverly threat for one inning, but the home team would added five more runs over the next two. They led 9-2 before Dex Larsen's RBI single during the fourth frame.
Connor O'Neil and Nolan Osterhaus forced the Vikings into two errors with their own fourth-inning swings, scoring Larsen and Canton Lippincott, but BHS still trailed 9-5.
Waverly scored the next six runs, too, including four after a Bear and his coach were tossed in the fifth.
The umpiring duo raised the ire of players and coaches from each dugout during Thursday's game. It started during the first inning when the umpire behind the plate scolded the Vikings for leaving the dugout to celebrate scoring a run — a fairly regular occurrence in prep baseball.
The loss to the Class B No. 7 Vikings was the Bears' eighth to a top-10 team, according to Roan. He said the first-round EMC win against the No. 8 Badgers is proof of his team's potential, however.
“I think that just right there proves what we're capable of doing and how good of team we really are,” the coach said.
BHS — which has won four of its last seven games — just needs to continue to progress as it moves into the final stretch of the regular season.
“From here on out, I'd like to compete in every game,” Roan said. “I think that we have a team that is good enough to compete and win the state tournament. We just need to all believe in it.”