Juniors end regular season with win
Melons open Area 6 tourney on Thursday.
In their final regular-season matchup of the summer, the Gothenburg Juniors managed to beat Broken Bow 7-5 to take a 5-11 record into the American Legion Area 6 tournament which begins Thursday in McCook.
The Melons traded rain for heat and humidity as the game with Broken Bow was supposed to be played in May but weather delayed it until July 5.
A couple of hot innings gave the Melons enough of a lead to hold off a Broken Bow comeback in the seventh inning.
Gothenburg allowed two runs in the first inning and trailed 2-0 until the bottom of the fourth when Melon bats came to life.
Trent Long started things off with a single to left field. Long advanced when Jeff Rodriguez walked.
Both base runners moved ahead on a sacrifice bunt by Adam Speck and the bases were loaded when Zach Wolf walked.
That brought up lead-off batter and pitcher Justin Larson.
Larson smacked the ball deep into left field for a three-RBI double as Long, Rodriguez and Wolf all scored to put the Melons up 3-2.
Trey Kolbo earned an RBI of his own on a single down the left field line that allowed Larson to run home.
Kolbo advanced to second on a base hit by Levi Walker and Chase Ostergard loaded the bases again on a walk.
This time the Melons left three on as Dylan Folkers’ fly ball to right field was caught to end the inning.
Leading 4-2, Gothenburg continued to hold Broken Bow out, adding to the Melon lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Kolbo led off with a single to right field and took second on a passed ball.
Walker walked but was thrown out on his way to second on a fielder’s choice that landed Ostergard on first and pushed Kolbo to third.
Kolbo zipped home on a wild pitch and Ostergard took third on another passed ball as Ross Ostendorf walked.
Ostendorf stole second to set up the runs for Rodriguez to get a two-RBI double. Gothenburg led 7-2 when the inning ended.
A little tough luck for the Melons in the field allowed Broken Bow to get three runs on four hits in the top of the seventh inning but it wasn’t enough to make up the difference.
Long finished 3-for-4 hitting with three singles. Walker was 2-for-3 with a triple and a single.
Larson earned the win on the mound throwing a complete game with five strikeouts and no walks.
The Melons enter the Area 6 tournament as the seventh seed and will play Holdrege in the first game at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday in McCook.
Shelton-Gibbon has the top seed of the seven-team area with a record of 12-4. Holdrege is No. 2 at 14-6 followed by Minden, Cozad, McCook and Broken Bow.
Should the Melons win Thursday they will play the winner of the Minden-Broken Bow game at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
A loss would send them to the losers bracket of the double-elimination tournament to face the loser of the Minden-Broken Bow game at 2:30 p.m. Friday.
The championship of the Area 6 tournament is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 19, at McCook.
The tournament winner will play in the Class B state Juniors tournament in Beatrice beginning July 23.