Pioneers register sweep of Trappers

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By MARK REIN Star-Herald Jun 25, 2018

Western Nebraska Pioneers’ Esai Hernandez (left) forces out a runner at first base during an Expedition League baseball game against the Pierre Trappers on Monday evening at Oregon Trail Park Stadium in Gering.

Colin Ludwig’s walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted the Western Nebraska Pioneers to a 3-2 win over the visiting Pierre Trappers during the first game of an Expedition League doubleheader on Monday evening at Oregon Trail Park Stadium in Gering.

The second game was just as close as the Pioneers scored four times in the fifth then held on for a 5-4 win to complete the sweep.

Ludwig said the Pioneers did what they needed to do in order to pick up two wins.

“We played really well. We had a slow beginning, but we finished pretty strong,” Ludwig said. “We had great pitching on the mound, great defense, and clutch hitting.”

Ludwig, an infielder from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, said his walk-off double felt great. The game-winning hit plated Jansen Fontenot.

“It was awesome,” he said. “Everyone came out of the dugout and mobbed me at second base.”

The doubleheader sweep improved the Pioneers to 19-9 on the season overall. Western Nebraska entered play Monday on the heels of a three-game series loss to the Hastings Sodbusters over the weekend.

Ludwig said Monday’s victories were nice considering the Pioneers dropped two of three in Hastings.

“It feels good after the last couple days against Hastings,” he said. “We came out strong and got a couple more in the win column. We are looking forward to the all-star break and then we are looking forward to the rest of the season after that.”

The Pioneers will conclude the first half of the season with a week-long homestand. After hosting the Trappers for three games, the Sodbusters will visit Gering for a pair of games Wednesday and Thursday before the Badlands Big Sticks come to town for a two-game series. Following Saturday’s games, the Expedition League will begin its all-star break. The all-star game will be played on Monday in Hastings.

Ludwig said Tuesday’s game with the Trappers should be another intense battle.

“We have to come out strong and have good pitching on the mound and play good defense behind them,” he said.

In Monday’s opener, Jeff Hakanson earned the win on the mound for the Pioneers in relief. Hakanson allowed just one hit and struck out two in one inning of work.

Cal Beardsley put together another quality start for the Western Nebraska pitching staff. He allowed one earned run on four hits, walked four and fanned eight in five innings. Logan Gilbertson tossed one inning of relief. He allowed one earned run on two hits and struck out one.

Esai Hernandez paced the Pioneers offensively with a pair of hits. He also scored a run. Brandon Bohning drove in two runs. He also had a stolen base.

The second game was going the Trappers way with a fine pitching performance early on by Zane Phelps with the Trappers leading 3-1.

The fourth inning changed everything. Sidney’s Lane Harvey started the inning by getting plunked with a pitch followed by Luke Coker getting on via a walk. Jansen Fontenot then loaded the bases on a bunt single.

Harvey came in to score on a Hobbs Nyberg single and Coker scored the tying run as he got into home plate before the throw home on a fielder’s choice hit. Western Nebraska added two more runs for a 5-3 lead.

The Trappers outhit the Pioneers 9-5. Luther Woullard and Fontenot each had two hits for the Pioneers.

van Ingram went four innings in allowing seven hits and three runs, while striking out two. Cameron Richman tossed the final three innings in getting the win. Richman allowed two hits, one run, and struck out two.

Game One
Trappers 001 001 0 – 2 7 2
Pioneers 020 000 1 – 3 6 1
WP — Jeff Hakanson (1-0). LP נTyler McDonald.
2B — Pioneers (Colin Ludwig).

Game Two
Trappers 021 000 1 – 4 9 2
Pioneers 100 040 x – 5 5 0
WP – Cameron Richman. LP – Zane Phelps