Gering Seniors to use area tourney as state host tune-up
     2013-07-18      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen - Gering Legion PVC seniors huddle up before the Gering vs. Ogallala game on July 5. The team will host the Class B Area 7 Tournament this weekend. Teams from all over the state will descend upon Gering for the tourney, which begins on Friday. 
For the young Gering Platte Valley Companies Senior American Legion Post 36 baseball team, the season has been loaded with a lot of baby steps and challenges.

After starting the season 5-3, the Senior 36ers went through losing spells of nine and seven games, and they needed 25 games to reach the 10-win mark — coming in their final regular-season game last week.

Gering PVC finished its regular season last Thursday with a split of a doubleheader against the Buckley Bombers in Chappell.
After the Bombers took a 12-4 victory in Game 1, extending Gering PVC’s losing streak to seven, the Senior 36ers snapped the slide with a 5-3 win and get what had been an elusive 10th victory.

Gering PVC (10-23) is the lowest seed in the six-team Class B Area 7
Tournament, which begins Friday at 1 p.m. with the Senior 36ers squaring off against top-seeded Sidney for the fifth time this season.

Gering PVC’s winning start of the season included two wins over Sidney: 10-9 in the season-opening Gering PVC Tournament and 4-3 at the Hershland Tournament in Hershey.

Sidney won both of the teams’ conference meetings, 21-1 at home and 11-5 at Gering.
Since the teams have split their four games, Gering PVC coach Rick Kinnaman said the teams’ opposite ends of the seeding do not really matter to him.

“I’ve never looked at it that way. It’s pitch by pitch, play by play, that sort of thing. We’re still working on being a fundamental team and we haven’t got there yet,” Kinnaman said. “I think we’re very motivated for the first round. It’s against Sidney, and they are a team we would love absolutely love to beat.”

A win would put Gering PVC into a 4 p.m. game Saturday against the loser of Friday’s Valentine-Alliance game. A first-round loss would put the Senior 36ers into the elimination bracket against the loser of Friday’s Ogallala-Chadron game. Action concludes Tuesday with the championship game.

Regardless of Gering PVC’s result in the area tournament, the Senior 36ers will advance to the Class B State Tournament for the fourth straight year — this time, with an automatic berth as the state tourney’s host. The state tournament will be at Oregon Trail Park and begins July 27, running through July 31.

While the season wound down, Gering PVC players were performing double duty by not just playing but also participating in fundraising events in preparation for hosting the state tournament.

“Fortunately most of that is passed. We had those guys and myself included, and several parents who were very active doing one project after another, raising money for doing this and readying that for the last three weeks have been pretty intense,” Kinnaman said.

“Now that those things are done for the boys, we’re just going to do baseball, so I think that will help too.”
So this week has been devoted to getting back into the routine of working out and preparing for Friday’s area tourney opener.

“The biggest obstacle is just getting the kids back into the flow of things,” Kinnaman said. “The biggest advantage we have this week is everything will be a routine. We get up and lift at 6:20 every morning and have practice at 9, and we will do that for four days in a row.

“I really feel good about our chances against Sidney. I know they’re the one seed and we’re the six seed, but there’s not a team that we have played this year that we look more forward to playing because of some of their on-field antics. It gives me motivation, and I think it will the kids.”

Gering earns split of final doubleheader

In winning its season finale and earning a split against Buckley, Gering PVC rode three hits by Dillon DeMott and left-hander Caleb Geary held the Bombers to just five hits in earning the complete-game pitching victory.

Geary allowed three runs, struck out seven and walked one.
The Senior 36ers took a 3-1 lead with a two-run fourth inning. Austin Ferguson started things with a single, scoring Justin Brester. That was followed with a steal of home by Walker Britsch.
Gering PVC matched its one-run fifth inning with one more in the sixth. In the fifth, the 36ers scored on an RBI single by Gage Smith, bringing home Brent Barge.

In the first game, Gering PVC mustered just four hits and let Buckley take command with an eight-run fifth inning that put the Bombers ahead 9-3.

The Senior 36ers had scored twice to take a 3-1 lead, with Elijah Timblin driving home Geary on a single to break the 1-all tie. Nate Ferreyra, who had reached base on an error and advanced to third on Timblin’s single, then stole home.

Demott suffered the pitching loss, giving up eight runs (two earned) on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.

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