Senior American Legion baseball teams from Arlington, Blair and Fort Calhoun closed out their regular season schedules Monday and Tuesday evening in preparation for today's start to the Class B Area 3 district tournament in West Point.
The Bears and Eagles enter the postseason coming off of wins, while the Post 348 Seniors fell Tuesday night to Omaha Roncalli, 11-4. Despite the loss, Pioneers coach Brandon Wynn is excited for the Area tourney after his team evened the Kelly Ryan Pride in hits with nine.
“Roncalli's been a good team all year,” he said. “There's no shame. I don't think (the Pioneers) should feel down about that.”
Calhoun was within three runs of Roncalli until the Pride's four-run bottom of the sixth frame.
“We've just got to hit the baseball with runners in scoring position,” Wynn said. “If we do, we're leading at multiple points in that ballgame.”
Post 348 pushed across its first run during the third inning when Tylan Conner doubled. The knock to left-centerfield scored Zach Faucher, pulling the Pioneers within 3-1.
Roncalli responded with four runs in the fourth frame, including three on a homer, before Calhoun notched three more runs during the top of the fifth. Tristan Fuhrman, Austin Welchert and Harrison Schmitt all notched RBIs in the inning, pulling the Pioneers back within 7-4.
The three-run deficit was as close as Wynn's team would get, though. It also suffered a loss in the sixth frame when Faucher's bunt attempt ricocheted back into his face. The infielder kept his feet, but left Tuesday's game early.
The Pioneer's injury may lead to some lineup changes in his squad's first game of the district tourney. Wynn said inexperienced players may need to step-up and step-in to play.
“I have no reason to believe they won't be ready to go Friday,” he said.
Fort Calhoun start B3 bracket play at 5 p.m. against Waterloo-Valley.
Blair clips Arlington, 7-5
The Arlington Senior Legion baseball team scored three runs during the final two innings Monday night at Vets Field, but it couldn't take down the Post 154 Blair Bears.
Blair scored seven runs on nine hits and beat the Eagles, 7-5. Nolan Osterhaus earned the pitching win, throwing 6 2/3 innings with four strikeouts. Post 71's Braden Rump bounced back from a four-run first inning to throw four innings and strike out four Bears, but suffered the loss.
Post 154's Dylan Swanson and Morgan Rump each went 1-for-2 with two RBIs to lead their squad to its 12th win of the season. Kaden Fletcher, meanwhile, was 2-for-3 as Osterhaus, Bo Nielsen, Conner O'Neil, Matt Burns and Canton Lippincott notched a hit apiece.
Nielsen stole two bases.
Blair next plays 7:30 p.m. tonight against Elkhorn Mount Michael during the first round of the Class B Area 3 district tournament in West Point. The Bears are the seventh seed, while the Knights are No. 2.
Tanner Pittman, Isaac Foust, Josh Iossi and Cooper Hilgenkamp logged Arlington RBIs on Monday in defeat. Barrett Nielsen was 2-for-2 against Blair pitching, while Braden Rump, Pittman, Aiden Foreman, Logan Kaup, Zach Vanek and Iossi earned hits.
The Eagles were back in action again Tuesday, defeating Waterloo-Valley 8-3 at the Washington County Fairgrounds. Rump led Arlington with three hits, while Pittman had two as he reached base four times.
Nielsen, meanwhile, notched the pitching win with three strikeouts across four innings.
Post 71 opens Area 3 Tournament play today at 2:30 p.m. The fourth-seeded Eagles start with No. 5 Albion in West Point.