Seniors wake up in time to mash Melons

Thursday, June 15, 2017
McCook National Bank Senors wre ready to greet Kaden Sitzman (1, left) after his first two of home runs Wednesday night forced a 6-6 tie with the visiting Gothenburg Melons.

McCOOK, Neb. — They were missing pop flies and coaches probably like felt covering their eyes midway through the second inning Wednesday night.

“No disrepect to Gothenburg,” McCook Natinals Bank Seniors coach Jeff Holthus said following a 16-7 MNB win. “But a really good team will bury us with a start like that.”

The visiting Melons — who own two wins this Legion season— turned seeds of opportunity into a 6-0 lead at McCook’s Jaycees Complex.

Every MNB fan had to love their team’s response.

First, Trae Koetter and Josh Harpham sprayed singles just beyond Melon fielders.

Cameryn Berry probably didn’t feel much better after he fouled a bunt off his own body parts.

Yet Berry stood tall and worked a walk to load the bases with no outs.

Colton Stevens’ own free pass forced in the first McCook run, and then Drew Harvie brought a “weed eater” that would wake up anyone whether it’s 8 a.m. or 9 p.m.

Vroom! Vroom!

All three teammates motored home as Harvie’s drive sliced up the Melons’ outfield defense.

“That was the big hit,” Holthus confirmed about Harvie’s bases-clearing triple. “Drew’s been doing a good job of making contact.”

The score was suddenly 6-4 and Kaden Sitzman was focused on following Harvie’s lead.

“Just get a good hit,” Sitzman said.

“He (Sitzman) had actually been struggling a bit at the plate,” Holthus observed.

Gothenburg’s next baseball pitched would pay the price because...

EYAHH! It went soaring over the left-field fence for a game-tying home run.

“I was thinking home run on the second one,” Sitzman said. “The guys were giving me crap in the dugout that I couldn’t do it again.”

He didn’t do it again because Sitzman’s second HR was more of a line-drive shot that would improve all those who judge “exit velocity.”

The MNB Seniors (9-2 record) were zooming into a big lead by this point. Cleanup batter D.J. Gross promptly smashed the Melons again when he sent a triple just beyond G-Burg’s center fielder.

Spencer Krysl’s shot to right became an RBI-sacrifice fly as Gross slid home safely while the good errant throw eluded G-Burg’s catcher.

“They’re our 3-4 hitters, so it was good to see both D.J. and Kaden get going tonight,” Holthus said.

In between those blasts, McCook delivered other clutch hits like Krysl’s hustling infield single.

Koetter lined another hit to center, which set up a tie-breaking/two-run base hit from Harpham.

McCook had moved ahead 8-6, and that would have been enough thanks to solid Seniors pitching.

Starting pitcher Stevens shook off the first two tough innings. He worked nearly four while earning a well-deserved win.

Logan Greenlee relived and got four outs to finish another MNB “mercy rule” victory.

“That was the farthest Colton has gone into a game,” Holthus revealed. “Both he and Logan did a good job.”

Von Fritsche and Andy Brunswick were among the other Seniors contributing to Wednesday’s win.

McCook will need all this depth entering a weekend tournament at Wahoo.

Strong competition likely awaits MNB, but Holtus talked about focus and confidence starting with Friday’s first pitch.

“It would be great to come home with four or more five wins,” he concluded.

McCook Seniors will play their next game Tuesday night against Hershland following a Juniors contest (5;30 p.m. start).

A pair of Legion B teams will play at Jaycees Complex tonight.

AmFirst Bank hosts Cozad at 6:30 p.m. followed by Herrmann-Jones’ 8:15 game against Elwood.

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