Senior Legion 36ers back on winning streak
     2012-07-05      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen
The Senior Legion PVC team’s Walker Britsch rounds third base heading for home, scoring a run for the 36ers.
 
Oh, what a little winning streak can do for your slumping baseball team.

With Mother Nature having cranked up the heat last week, so too did the Gering Platte Valley Companies American Legion Post 36 baseball team, which scored four wins in as many games after entering the week on a downslide that included seven losses in eight games, the last four in a row.

The Senior 36ers began the week with a pair of Panhandle Summer Baseball Conference victories on the road, 4-3 at Sidney on Wednesday and 15-2 at Alliance on Thursday.

Then at Oregon Trail Park on Saturday, Gering climbed back into the winning column by sweeping the Sterling, Colo., Tigers, 9-1 in five innings in the opener and 10-3 in the nightcap, in a pair of four-hit victories.

The winning streak returned Gering to a winning record of 18-16 overall as June closed.

“Being back above .500 is the thing I am most proud of,” Gering Seniors coach Doug Jones said. “We are fighting back and hopefully this next week we will get some rest then go into next weekend with even more intensity.”

The PVC Seniors will spend Independence Day afternoon Wednesday with their Alumni Game, which starts at 1 p.m. at Oregon Trail Park.
Gering then travels to Rapid City, S.D., to play in the Post 320 Stars’ Festival in the Hills on Saturday and Sunday. The format is double round-robin, with the Senior 36ers playing the Post 320 Stars each day at noon and Sturgis each day at 2:30. Post 320 and Sturgis match up each day at 5 p.m.

Pending the rescheduling of last Tuesday’s home game against the Buckley Bombers, Gering has its final regularly scheduled home contest next Tuesday against Chadron.

The Senior 36ers will then be on the road for four games: at Oshkosh on July 15, Sterling on July 16 and to Wheatland, Wyo., on July 17 for action against Gillette and Wheatland.

Gering then returns home for the District B-7 Tournament, which will be July 20-24. The district winner then advances to the Class B State Tournament in Wahoo on July 28-Aug. 1.

GERING 9, STERLING 1
The twi-night doubleheader was pushed back four hours to avoid the dead heat of Saturday’s installment of the weeklong, triple-digit heat wave.

Nevertheless, the Senior 36ers were as blazing in the opener as the late-afternoon heat, taking command in a six-run, four-hit sixth inning that included two doubles by Gering hitters.

Colin Chatterton led off the inning with a single and scored on Austin Ferguson’s ground-rule double, giving PVC a 3-1 lead. Reggie Reyes scored the next run on Walker Britsch’s single, and two outs later Britsch scored when Danny O’Boyle drew base on a Sterling error.

After O’Boyle stole second, he scored on Zach Smith’s double, and Smith scored on a left-field error in giving Gering an 8-1 lead.
The teams had agreed to an eight-run, five-inning mercy rule, and the Post 36ers closed the door when Nate Marquez drilled a two-out single to left-center field, scoring Reyes.

Among its 11 hits, Gering had a 2-for-3, two-double, two-run, one-RBI performance from Smith. Chatterton was 2-for-3 with a run and Reyes was 2-for-2 with a walk and one run and RBI each.
Other doubles besides the fourth-inning two-bagger by Ferguson included an RBI double by Josh Burgener in the second inning and a leadoff rap by Grant Rimington in the 36ers’ scoreless third inning.
O’Boyle got the five-inning pitching victory by scattering four Tiger singles and striking out two with no walks.

Perhaps the most staggering statistics of Game 1 was its speed, completed in 71 minutes, and the 36ers’ errorless fielding.
“That’s the way we want and should play Gering baseball,” Jones said. “We wanted to get out of the heat and I think that motivated us more.”

GERING 10, STERLING 3
Literally about the only difference between the Senior 36ers’ Game 1 victory and its nightcap win was one run. On two occasions, Gering had seven-run leads and the chance to add the eighth, game-ending run.

Instead, Sterling — which rallied from an 8-1 deficit to close within five in the fifth inning, and again clinged to life by not letting the PVC Seniors score one more run in the sixth inning — made Gering pay for some setbacks by extending the Senior 36ers to the Tigers’ final out.

Tactical mistakes, besides four official Gering errors, were on Jones’ mind after the prolonged game.

“In the last game we were in kind of a letdown and missed some opportunities,” he said. “We had some mental errors, but overall we played pretty good. It’s hard, especially when you’re that close, but we were able to persevere.”

The Senior 36ers erased a quick 1-0 Sterling lead off starting pitcher Chatterton by scoring three runs in each of the first two innings and adding two more in building an 8-1 advantage after three innings. Of Gering’s first six runs, two were scored directly on errors and two more were the result of a wild pitch by Tiger starter Brendan Diaz. Sterling committed five errors in all, including two in the third inning that allowed Austin Ferguson to trot home after he had tripled.

Again, the Senior 36ers had an advantage in extra-base hits, 3-1, and 10-4 in overall hits. Marquez and Rimington both went 2-for-3 and scored twice each. O’Boyle had a double and two RBI in going 1-for-3 with a walk, and Smith also doubled and scored.
Chatterton allowed Sterling all four of its hits in the fifth inning, after which he left with five strikeouts and no walks. Seth Holthus pitched the last two innings for Gering, allowing just one walk.

GERING 15, ALLIANCE 2
After a close battle in the first two innings, led by Gering 3-1, the Senior 36ers took command Thursday night with two runs in the third and then a 10-run eruption in the fourth.

The Senior 36ers compiled 14 hits, including three by Smith in his 3-for-4 outing that included a pair of doubles — both in that decisive fourth inning — along with three RBI and two runs scored.
Marquez followed by going 2-for-3 with two RBI and three runs scored, while Chatterton was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Rimington added two hits, including a double, in aiding his complete-game pitching victory. He scattered seven Alliance hits and two runs with one strikeout.

GERING 4, SIDNEY 3
The most competitive game of Gering’s week was the Senior 36ers’ first game — which became such after Tuesday’s home game against the Buckley Bombers was called off when Buckley did not have enough players to field a team because of other athletic camp commitments.
After scoring a leadoff run, Gering led in every inning except when Sidney forged a 2-all tie in the bottom of the fourth inning. Gering added a run in each of the fifth and sixth innings, but Sidney could only cut PVC Seniors‘ margin to one.

Smith scattered two runs on five hits while striking out four and walking two. Chatterton saved Smith’s win by sparing Sidney its other run but allowing just two hits while striking out one.
Sidney outhit Gering 7-6. with O’Boyle and Reyes garnering two hits apiece for the Senior 36ers.

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