An assistant coach spoke his mind after the Fort Calhoun Senior Legion baseball team dug itself a hole at Vets Field.
“Well, we came off the field and Jamie (Warner) said a lot of motivating things,” pitcher Jake Seina said, grinning while avoiding specifics. “And that, kind of, made us think, 'Alright. He's got a point. Let's just turn this around.'”
The Post 348 Pioneers trailed Blair 5-0 early Tuesday, but ripped off 12 runs in a row to claim a 12-7 road victory. The win pushed their season record to 3-2, while the Post 154 Bears fell to 1-4.
“That one inning we drove right off the tracks and couldn't put it back on,” Blair coach James Bilslend said, mentioning Calhoun's seven-run sixth. “It's tough.”
Before the game slipped away, the home team built its initial lead over the first three innings. The Bears scored first on a first-inning sac fly by Matthew Burns before both Kaden Fletcher and Dylan Swanson scored on passed balls during the second.
Nolan Osterhaus' third-inning two-RBI single pushed Post 154's lead to five runs, but coach Brandon Wynn's team didn't give in. The Pioneers tallied their first two scores during the fourth frame when Tristan Fuhrman drew a bases-loaded walk and Austin Welchert was struck by a Blair pitch.
“They started messing up, so we just took advantage of that,” Seina said.
Post 348's Zach Faucher slid into home plate safe on a fifth-frame Justin Myer single, pulling the Pioneers within two runs before Fuhrman's infield dribbler cut the deficit to 5-4. Pinch runner Avery Quinlan then scored the game-tying run when Blair catcher Conner O'Neil tried to catch Fuhrman stealing second base.
The Bears' miscues continued to add up during a devastating top of the sixth inning. Dillon Dierks scored Calhoun's go-ahead run on a throwing error before Tylan Conner pushed the Pioneers' lead to 7-5 on another infield dribbler. Fuhrman and Welchert added RBI knocks as the inning went on, but coach Wynn's team was certainly aided by Blair's mistakes.
“I just told the boys that I've won one game in 27 years where I've committed more errors than I got hits,” Bilslend said, suggesting a 9-to-8 ratio in Tuesday's game. “It's almost impossible.”
Post 154 notched two runs of their own during the final two innings, including one on a Canton Lippincott single, but the Pioneers celebrated when all was said and done.
“It just showed that we aren't the same Calhoun team that's lost to Blair over the years,” said Seina, the victorious pitcher. “We have the potential to go and beat these really good teams.”
The win came during Fort Calhoun's only Senior Legion game of the week. The Junior squad hosts its tournament today through Sunday with tonight's Pioneer game starting at 7 p.m.
Blair, meanwhile, had to erase the five-run loss from their minds with another game just 24 hours away Wednesday.
“We'll flush it,” Bilslend said. “Turn the page.”
Pride take 2 from Post 154
Before the Washington County showdown, the Blair Seniors dropped a pair of Saturday afternoon games at Omaha Roncalli.
The Pride won the doubleheader opener 4-1 before a come-from-behind, 6-4 win in game No. 2. The Bears led the second game 4-2 before Sam Wiese hit a sixth-inning grand slam off of Osterhaus, the pitcher who struck out four in defeat.
The Bears built their lead from the first inning on when Fletcher notched an RBI single to score Osterhaus. The road team added its second run during the second frame on Swanson's knock before scoring the third in the third on TJ Swaney's single.
Swanson and Tyler Andersen hit doubles during the fourth frame, but Blair went scoreless until the fifth when O'Neil scored from third as Morgan Rump drew attention between first and second base in a rundown.
Wiese's sixth-inning swing nullified all of that Blair work, though, as Roncalli notched its second win of the afternoon. Its first came despite five Bo Nielsen strikeout pitches for Blair.
The Bears' offense, however, was outhit 8-3 to start the day 0-1.
Bears fall on the road Friday
The Post 154 Bears also surrendered a 6-1 road lead May 28 at Nebraska City, falling by 7-6 walk-off.
Blair scored three runs during the top of the sixth inning before its host responded with four and added two during the final frame. Coach Bilslend's team fell despite a 7-6 advantage in hits.
Osterhaus led the Bears with two hits, while Swaney struck out seven on the pitching mound.