LEXINGTON – Lexington Baseball has been struggling in the start of their season. They’ve been blown out by teams with big teeth like Kearney Runza and Hastings 5 Points and seen some weather cancellations. Forgetting those, they’re still fighting for every run they can and sometimes they seem to know just how to keep competitive.
In many of their games this season, so far, they’ve proven their abilities on the defensive side of the field. They’ve held Gothenburg and Cozad to just two runs in the first three innings of those games this week and held Broken Bow to one run in the first three on Thursday. They remain competitive, but are still finding their ability to close the game.
Thursday’s game with Broken Bow saw a strong effort with quick innings as Broken Bow put one on the scoreboard in the top of the first and the game went scoreless in the second and third. Broken Bow extended their lead to 0-6 in the top of the fourth and there was a change in the atmosphere at the Optimist Sports Complex.
The Pinnacle Bank Seniors responded with two runs of their own, scored by Austyn Stewart and Daniel Kuefner, in the bottom of the fourth to bring the game to 2-6. Neither team would find their way around the bases in the next two innings.
After holding Broken Bow a third inning in a row in the seventh, the coaches stressed the importance of getting off the bench and getting involved from the dugout. Coach Vince Leibert and Coach Mike Vincent made some changes to the line-up, in a hurry, and pulled some juniors off the bench.
Stepping in for the Pinnacle Bank Seniors as a pinch hitter, on an 0-2 count, Jaxon Fagot sent a ground ball through the legs of Broken Bow’s shortstop to get on base. Holton Edeal took his place on first as a courtesy runner.
Noah Converse came off the bench for Aaron Salcido and faced his first Seniors level pitcher. He saw one strike swinging and watched two balls go by before sending a grounder through to center field, earning his first base-hit in a Seniors game.
Edeal advanced to third and Converse took second on a passed ball before Draake Taylor took a base on balls.
The dugout was alive with bases loaded when Mason Tilford took the plate. Edeal scored after Tilford watch the first pitch go wide to the backstop. Converse took position on third with Taylor behind him on second.
Tilford connected with the second pitch and sent a line drive to center field. Converse scored on the hit and Taylor cut a line in the dirt as he rounded third base toward home. Broken Bow attempted to catch Taylor at home plate as Tilford took second base. Taylor was too quick for the throw and scored another run for the Pinnacle Bank Seniors.
After the excitement, the score had leveled out, 5-6.
A run of bad luck stopped the Lexington boys from advancing to a tie game or a win. Tilford was caught attempting to steal third base, the infield fly rule was invoked on a pop-fly by Vinney Leibert and Kuefner sent a ground ball back to the pitcher and was beaten to the bag to end the game, 5-6.
“We are a building program,” said Lexington head coach Vince Leibert after the game. “We’re a program that is finding ways to compete but not yet win games.”
Coaches and fans will often say that it’s important to start putting runs on the scoreboard early in the game to make wins possible. Leibert is confident that if the Pinnacle Bank Seniors can do just that, they will start seeing some wins.
“We’re going to be a solid team,” said Leibert. “We just haven’t found our legs for throwing the punch early.”
In the end, when asked to pick his MVP of the game, Coach Leibert named a player who normally rosters for the Pinnacle Bank Juniors.
“I’m going to give it to Noah Converse,” Leibert said with confidence after some consideration. “He only had one at-bat, and that’s what he did. He walked in and hit the ball and if he had not done it we wouldn’t have been in the position to produce in the end.”
Noah Converse has been seeing quite a bit of success at the plate, recently. Aside from his base hit to keep the Pinnacle Bank Seniors alive in their game with Broken Bow, Converse saw some success in Wednesday’s doubleheader with Hastings Runza with four at-bats, produced one hit, a double, two runs and two RBIs with only one strikeout.
“He’s on a hot streak,” Leibert added. “He’s been working really hard on his at-bats and it’s starting to pay off.”
The Pinnacle Bank Seniors will be back on the field at home on Sunday, June 9 when they host a doubleheader with Scottsbluff at 1 p.m. The Juniors will travel to Scottsbluff on Saturday, June 8 with a 3 p.m. game time, central time.