FCHS drops 12-11 thriller in NCC Tourney final

DC West claims conference baseball title


The Fort Calhoun High School baseball team played for a Nebraska Capitol Conference Tournament title Saturday in Valley.
“It'd mean a lot,” infielder Kenny Wellwood said a day earlier when asked what a conference championship would signify. “It'd be a big deal for this program.”
Catcher Chase Bierman believed the Pioneers had what it took to win high-stakes games like Saturday's.
“Our record doesn't show it, but we've been working hard,” he said. “We just need to pull through and do what we can do.”
It just wasn't meant to be.
The Pioneers earned an 11-7 lead against the top-seeded Douglas County West Falcons, but lost when they surrendered five seventh-inning runs. The home team celebrated the 12-11, walk-off victory as the game-winning single hit the outfield grass.
FCHS, however, had celebrated earlier after taking a 6-5 lead during the top of the fifth inning. Carter Christensen knocked in Sam Genoways, but watched with his teammates during the bottom half when DC West regained an advantage with a two-run homer.
After a scoreless sixth frame, though, the Pioneers mounted their comeback in the seventh. Wellwood singled before Genoways doubled down the left field line.
Next, Alex Christensen singled out of the reach of a diving Falcon in the outfield, tying the game at 7-all. Calhoun senior Declyn Otte then broke that tie with his own RBI single, placing the ball just inside the right field line.
A Bierman bunt scored another Pioneer next before Levi Lasher produced a 10-7 advantage by sac fly. Then, to cap his team's scoring, Eric Koterba doubled to the outfield fence for a four-run lead.
Seemingly unfazed, the Falcons responded to their 11-7 deficit with another homer to lead off the bottom the of the seventh inning. They then scored their next three runs on a bases-loaded walk, a fielder's choice and a bunt, tying the game before the walk-off single with one out.
The loss dropped the Pioneers' season record to 4-9 overall, while DC West improved to 7-4. The NCC runner-up next competes 4:30 p.m. today when it hosts Arlington.

FCHS snaps skid
Fort Calhoun started its NCC Tournament run by breaking its five-game losing skid.
Trailing Raymond Central 3-1 at home Friday, the Pioneers produced seven runs during the sixth frame and picked up an 8-3 first-round victory. Otte claimed the pitching win and AJ Duros produced a fifth-inning sac fly, but it was the sixth that decided the game.
Carter and Alex Christensen reached base to start the decisive inning before Otte bunted and the Mustangs committed a costly error. The off-target throw into the outfield scored the Christensens and tied the game at 3-all.
“Once the first guy laid down that bunt, we knew we could do it,” Wellwood said. “We're confident in our ability to bunt and our guys to bunt.”
First, Koterba was hit by a pitch. With him on base, though, Bierman was next. His coaches had him bunt again for the lead.
“I did what he asked,” FCHS' catcher said. “It worked out.”
From there, Wellwood hit a two-RBI single and later scored on a passed ball. Ahead 7-3, an Alex Christensen contact swing pushed across Genoways, too.
“We didn't shut down after any of the first couple of shaky innings,” Bierman said, noting the Pioneers' energy throughout the sixth frame. They'd get three outs during the next half inning, too, and advance to the NCC Tournament title game in Valley.

Douglas County West 12, Fort Calhoun 11
FCHS (4-9) 2 3 0 0 1 0 5 — 11
DCW (7-4) 0 2 3 0 2 0 5 — 12
Fort Calhoun 8, Raymond Central 3
RC (5-7) 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 — 3
FCHS (4-8) 0 0 0 0 1 7 X — 8

Fort Calhoun Baseball