Melons suffer early elimination
Juniors fall from Area 6 tourney after two games.
McCOOK—The 2011 baseball season was a series of ups and downs for the Gothenburg Juniors.
The Melons finished off the summer in the same fashion during the Class B American Legion Area 6 tournament at McCook last week.
After a solid start in the opening round against Holdrege on Thursday, defensive errors combined with a limited pitching staff to spell defeat for the Melons.
Gothenburg returned to McCook Friday afternoon to play Broken Bow in the losers bracket.
The Melons fell behind in the fourth inning but made a strong comeback, only to suffer elimination by one run.
Gothenburg’s Juniors finish the season with a 5-13 overall record.
Short on pitching experience
The Melons started strong against Holdrege in the opening game of the Area 6 tournament Thursday gaining a 6-1 lead after two innings.
But as the midday heat wore on the players, fatigue led to errors and a struggle on the mound.
Holdrege came back to win handily 27-13.
Gothenburg scored a pair of runs on a single hit in the bottom of the first inning.
Lead-off batter Justin Larson was hit by a pitch to reach first. He then stole second and third bases before scoring on a balk.
Trent Long followed Larson with a walk. He took second on the same balk that scored Larson.
Long moved to third as Chase Ostergard was thrown out at first on a ground ball, then Long scored when Ben Tiedemann hit a two-out single to left field.
Tiedemann was stranded at first.
The Melons held Holdrege to one run in the top of the second and then came back with four more runs of their own, all with two outs on the board.
Zach Wolf got Gothenburg rolling when he walked, then Larson walked as well.
A pitching change couldn’t stop the string of bad luck for Holdrege as Long was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Levi Walker walked to score Wolf.
Larson zipped home on a passed ball for a 4-1 lead and a two-RBI single by Ostergard brought the other base runners home.
Ostergard was stranded as Gothenburg took a 6-1 lead.
The Melons maintained an advantage over Holdrege until the fourth inning when Tiedeman began to tire on the mound and the error bug hit the Melons in the field allowing the Post 66 team to score six runs.
Injuries and absences left the Melons light on experience in the bullpen. Ross Ostendorf and Adam Speck pitched in relief before Ostergard took the mound in the sixth inning for his first-ever stint in that position.
Gothenburg recorded four doubles in the game by Dylan Folkers, Zach Wolf, Jeff Rodriguez and Ostendorf.
Tiedemann took the loss on the mound.
Comeback ends one run short
The Juniors made a valiant effort to come back from a 9-3 deficit against Broken Bow in the first round of losers bracket play at the Area 6 tournament in McCook on Friday and they nearly got the job done.
A quick glove by Broken Bow shortstop Seth Quackenbush ended Gothenburg’s hopes one run short in the seventh inning, though, as the Post 126 team eliminated the Melons by handing Gothenburg a 10-9 loss.
Gothenburg took a 2-1 lead in the top of the second inning on a series of walks.
The Melons added a run in the top of the third when Chase Ostergard singled to left field, advanced to second on a passed ball and then scooted home on an RBI single by Ben Tiedemann.
Broken Bow opened up a big lead in the bottom of the fourth inning scoring six runs on four singles, a triple and a three-RBI home run by pitcher Jake McCormick.
Working their way back, the Melons recorded one run in the top of the fifth and four in the sixth to trail 10-8 heading into the final frame.
Ross Ostendorf opened the final frame with a single to left field.
He was thrown out at second on a fielder’s choice that put Zach Wolf on first.
Wolf advanced with a base hit by Justin Larson and then took third when Trent Long was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Another fielder’s choice sent Wolf home but took Long out at second.
With two outs and base runners on the corners, Ostergard had a chance to tie things up but a line drive into Quackenbush’s glove at shortstop ended the game.
Larson pitched a complete game throwing five strikeouts and three walks against 38 batters faced.
Tiedeman led Melon batters going 2-for-2 at the plate with a pair of singles and two RBIs. Larson and Jeff Rodriguez earned a pair of RBIs each as well.