BENNINGTON – Colton Smith and Kyler Essink both knocked in runs in the sixth inning and the Bennington baseball team would score four times in the inning, on their way to a 7-2 victory over Nebraska City Monday in the first round of the Eastern Midlands Conference Tournament.
Smith finished with a double, two RBI’s and a run scored. He also earned the win on the mound – throwing 6 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on four hits, and striking out ten.
Nick Bohn went 2-3 at the plate, including a triple, and added a pair of runs and an RBI.
The Badgers (8-2) ended the game with ten total hits. They’ll play at Waverly at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in the conference semi-finals.
Jacob Shannon took the loss for the Pioneers. He lasted 3 1/3 innings and gave up three runs on six hits while striking out four.
Nebraska City’s (4-4) two runs came in the top of the seventh. Clay Stovall and Jordan Williams each drove in a run.
Gretna 11 (7-3), Plattsmouth (2-6) 1 (5 innings): Grant Hubka and Bryce Grimm each had three hits and two RBI’s. Evan Beran went five innings, allowed one run on three hits and struck out four.
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Cade Baker drives in five to lead Norris over Elkhorn in the Eastern Midland Conference tourney
Mike Patterson / World-Herald News Service
After getting shut out by Elkhorn one week earlier, Norris exacted its revenge Monday night.
Catcher Cade Baker had five RBIs as the visiting Titans posted a 16-5 victory in a first-round Eastern Midlands Conference tournament game. Elkhorn, ranked No. 1 in Class B, had beaten host Norris 5-0 last Monday night.
“This is really one of the first games where we came out and swung it well,’’ Titans coach Sean Bartholomew said. “I was proud of the way we competed.’’
Baker drove in four with two doubles and a triple. He also was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, bringing in another run.
“We were a lot more competitive today,’’ Baker said. “We wanted to prove to everyone what kind of team we are.’’
The junior added that the final game of last season — a 5-4 loss to Omaha Roncalli in the Class B final — is helping to drive the team this year.
“We haven’t forgotten,’’ Baker said. “That’s huge motivation for us.’’
The Titans led 4-0 after two innings as Baker had three RBIs. Joel Benes also brought home a run with an RBI triple.
Norris made it 8-0 in the fourth, the big blow being a two-run single by Cade Argo. Elkhorn answered with two in the fourth, but the Titans put up another four-spot in the fifth to make it 12-2.
The Antlers avoided the 10-run mercy rule by scoring three in the bottom of the fifth. Kyler Randazzo brought home Mitch Kahre and Trenton Smith with a triple, to right-center and he scored shortly after on a throwing error.
Norris closed out the game by scoring two in the sixth and two in the seventh. Tyler Monroe drove in three of the runs with a pair of singles.
That was more than enough offense for starter Noah Van Brocklin, who went 5⅓ innings to get the win.
“We didn’t compete on the mound tonight,’’ Elkhorn coach Kyle McCright said. “We didn’t throw enough strikes, and they got some good swings on us when we did.’’
The coach added that the difference in the two games reflects the parity in Class B.
“We shut them out in their smaller ballpark, and they did this to us here,’’ McCright said. “They had a nice night offensively, and we just couldn’t slow them down.’’
Elkhorn did have one defensive highlight to end an inning. Drew Christo chased down a fly ball down the right-field line, and his strong throw to third doubled up a runner trying to advance.
Bartholomew said he’s hopeful the victory will be the start of a nice run for his Class B No. 6 Titans.
“Our starter was locked in and we gave him a lot of support,’’ the coach said. “It would be nice to keep this going.’’
Norris (5-3)…………220 442 2—16 14 4
Elkhorn (5-5)……….000 230 0— 5 6 2
W: Van Brocklin. L: Vetock. 2B: N, Baker 2, Argo; E, Rhoten. 3B: N, Benes, Baker; E, Lange, Randazzo.