The Reds Seniors battled tooth and nail against the mighty Hickman Nine who were able to use timely hitting to score a 7-1 victory over Cozad in the second round of the 2014 Nebraska American Legion Class B?State Baseball Championships held at Blair’s Veteran’s Field on Sunday night.
The score remained 0-0 through the first two innings, with the Cozad and Hickman defenses doing their best to keep the runners on the bases and not running rampant to score.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Hickman hitters were able to get on track with Jake Petersen and John Estudillo connecting on singles to advance runners into scoring position. Petersen was able to rumble home and score on Bryon Hood’s sacrifice fly into left field to give Hickman the 1-0 lead at the end of the third stanza.
Cozad was able to answer in the top of the fourth inning when Conor Young led off with a single and then was able to score as a result of errors defensively by the Hickman Nine. Young was a sitting duck in a pickle between third and home and he was able to force the error to get the Reds contingency to their feet and the score was knotted again, this time at 1-1 at the midway point of the fourth inning.
The Hickman bats that sparked in the third inning found the fuel in the fourth frame with five runs being scored. A?Brady Johnson two-RBI double did the most damage. Hickman snared a 6-1 lead at the end of the fourth inning.
In response to the Hickman rally, the Cozad offense had a scoring rally in the works of their own with Dillon Budd getting on base via a throwing error and great hustle. Jake Paulsen followed it up with a hard hit infield single to put runners in scoring position for the Reds. The rally was stalled by Preston Price of Hickman recording a strikeout to end the threat and keep the score at 6-1 at the end of the fifth inning.
Cozad was again knocking on the door to score in the top of the sixth inning when Tysen Werner connected on a fielders choice and Hank Pflaster’s single to centerfield moved Werner to third base. During the ensuing at-bat, the Hickman defense recorded the putout at first base to retire the side and deny Cozad from denting the deficit.
Hickman added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Bryce Petersen walked and then scored on a Cozad defensive miscue to make the score 7-1.
Down to their final three outs, the Cozad offense got a two-out double off the bat of Jake Paulsen but that is all they could muster in their final at-bat, as Hickman escaped with the 7-1 decision.
It was a hit-by-committee attack that led the Cozad offense with Jake Paulsen, Conor Young, Colin Wetovick and Hank Pflaster all converting on clutch hits for the Reds.
Paulsen had the lone extra base hit for Cozad with a double and Young scored the Reds lone run.
Score By Innings
Cozad 0001 000- 1
Hickman 0015 01x- 7