BEATRICE – Beatrice certainly gained some confidence last week with a 5-3 home win over Seward last Monday.
They had two home games washed out last week after that victory, but their momentum certainly hasn’t washed away.
The Orange (3-2), after a 5-4 win at DC West in extra innings Monday, survived more drama Tuesday in a 1-0 win over Crete (2-3) at Christenson Field on Tuesday evening.
On a night where each team committed four errors, and with only five total hits to speak of, the stars of Tuesday’s show were the starting pitchers.
Sophomore Qwin Zabokrtsky (2-1), making his second start and third appearance on the mound this season, felt comfortable early as he sat Crete down in order through the first two innings.
He surrendered lead-off singles in the 3rd, 5th and 7th innings, but those were the only hits Crete mustered all night. The Cardinals’ greatest threat came in the 3rd inning with runners on the corners, but both were left stranded.
In his first career complete game, Zabokrtsky tossed just 80 pitches in seven innings, striking out eight batters and issuing no free passes.
“It was great,” he said afterward. “I couldn’t have done it without everyone behind me backing me up. It was mostly them. I just put the ball where they could hit, put it into play and they did everything else.”
Even when Crete led off the top of the 7th with an infield single, there was never a doubt that Zabokrtsky would pitch the full game.”
“It was Qwin’s game to win or lose,” Beatrice coach Chris Belding said. “He was at 71 pitches before the last inning. You’re talking 11 pitches an inning. That’s fantastic. There’s very few pitchers that go through a game like that…it was his game.”
Crete’s starter, senior Nate Mensik (0-1) was equally impressive, throwing a career-high 12 strikeouts with only three walks.
Mensik was pulled after the 5th inning, tallying 113 pitches thrown. Senior Dillon Feeken tossed a scoreless frame of relief in the 6th.
Beatrice’s only hits came in the first and third innings – both singles. Sophomore Will Reimer hit a one-out single to center in the third, stole second base and reached third on a wild pitch.
Reimer ended up scoring from third on another wild pitch during a Zack Zimmerman at-bat. The Orange were held hitless through the final three innings.
Either way, the Orange have something cooking with three straight wins.
“I think the guys finally believe in themselves,” Belding said. “I’ve been telling them all along, ‘Hey. You guys can be a pretty good team. We just needed a few things to go our way.’ In the Seward game, it finally clicked. We have to keep finding ways to win. A pitching performance like that will go a long ways.”
The Orange next take on top-ranked Waverly (3-2) on the road Friday. First pitch is set for 4:30.