Getting started off on the right foot was crucial to the Cozad Seniors netting a 3-1 victory over Blair in the opening round of the 2014 Nebraska American Legion Class B State Championships being played at Veteran’s Field in Blair on Saturday evening.
The Reds were in business early when Conor Young singled. Young’s single was followed by singles off the bats of Colin Wetovick and Nate Bubak. Bubak’s hit scored Young to give the Cozad crowd a reason to stand up and shout, as the Reds led 1-0 at the end of the first inning.
Cozad was within striking distance of improving their lead in the second inning when Hank Pflaster and Chase Dugan were both hit by pitches. Soon thereafter the Blair defense shored up their efforts and extinguished the scoring threat with the score remaining at 1-0.
Seeking to gain more of an advantage on the scoreboard, Cozad’s bats awoke again in the fourth inning when Nate Bubak and Tysen Werner led off the inning with back-to-back singles. As a result of great hustle and effort, Bubak would score on a passed ball after stealing second base and advancing to third on a put-out play. On the pitch that advanced Bubak to score, Werner darted to third base only to be stranded just 90 feet from paydirt when the third out was recorded.
Cozad led 2-0 at the midway point of the fourth inning. In the bottom half of the stanza, Blair was able to Derek Jorgensen on base after getting beaned by a pitch. Jorgensen would then advance to second base on a wild pitch and then score on Damon Jorgensen’s RBI-double into the power alley in right field to cut into the deficit 2-1.
Cozad threatened again in the fifth inning when Conor Young and Colin Wetovick got on base via a walk and an infield single that Wetovick just beat out to first base as a result of great hustle and elite speed. Soon thereafter, Blair retired the side by catching a pop fly for the third out of the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Blair offense got a spark from Nick Nelsen and Derek Jorgensen with back-to-back singles, but it came with two outs and Cozad stopped the rally before it started by recording the third out of the inning to keep the lead in favor of Cozad 2-1.
Looking to add insurance on the scoreboard, the Reds Seniors got a double from Jake Paulsen. Soon after Paulsen was able to advance into scoring position, Colin Wetovick belted a RBI-single into the heart of the Blair defense to give the Cozad Nine a 3-1 lead.
With tensions high, the Cozad defense retired the side in order to extinguish the potential fire and the Reds scored the 3-1 victory.
Jacob Rush was dynamite on the hill for Cozad, going the distance to record the win. Rush allowed just five hits while striking out six batters.
Reds outfielder Colin Wetovick led the offense with a 3-4 effort at the dish that included three singles and an RBI.
Nate Bubak was 2-4 at the plate with a pair of singles, a stolen base, a run scored and an RBI.
Score By Innings
Cozad 1001 001- 3
Blair 0001 000- 1