Bulldogs finish season with 3rd-place district finish
     2013-10-17      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Ken Kurtz/Spectrum Photo - Gering senior Isabel Wolf makes contact during the Alliance contest at home earlier this season. Wolf had a great season, bringing the Bulldogs home on many occasions. 
Softball and baseball coaches will usually say the toughest outs to get in a game are the last three.

The Gering Bulldogs, facing elimination for three games in the District B-6 Tournament at North Platte after a 9-1, second-round loss to McCook on Thursday, found themselves down 6-2 to Cozad on Friday heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.

With the loser going home, the No. 3 seeded Bulldogs answered the call and scored five runs to eliminate the No. 4 seeded Haymakers 7-6. The win not only set up a semifinal rematch against No. 2 seeded McCook, but it gave Gering its 20th victory on the season and for the second year in a row.

The Bison held leads of 4-0 and 7-3 before Gering rallied back with six runs in the fifth inning to take a 9-7 lead and enter the seven inning just three outs from a chance to face the district's top seed in host North Platte.

However, McCook answered the call in the top of the seventh, took advantage of some Gering miscues to score three runs and then held on for a 10-9 comeback win over the Bulldogs (20-9).

North Platte (22-9), which earlier Friday had edged McCook 3-2 to advance to the championship game, rolled past the Bison (18-13) with a 9-1 win and earned the district title and Class B State Tournament berth in Hastings this week.

Scottsbluff, the No. 5 seed, lost a tough 12-11 opening-round game to Cozad on Thursday and then was eliminated by Gering 16-4.

The Bulldogs were 10-0 winners over Alliance in the first round Thursday before their first loss to McCook and beginning their comeback attempt with their wins over Scottsbluff and Cozad.

"I thought all the girls did a great job," Gering coach Molly Bonuchi said. "They were able to pull through some clutch situations and try to prolong their tournament.

"In the end, we were just on the wrong end and unfortunately it didn't fall our way, but they did a nice job during the entire tournament and I am very proud of their accomplishments."

Gering 10, Alliance 0

Gering scored four first-inning runs, one in each of the next two innings and ended the game with four runs in the bottom of the fourth, while senior Alexa Longoria held Alliance to just one hit in gaining the pitching victory.

Longoria struck out seven and allowed no walks. She got offensive support from junior Jessica Rogers, who went 3-for-3 with two doubles, two runs batted in and two doubles.

Joining Rogers with extra-base hits were junior Ciera Booker and freshman Kaylee Bohnsack with triples and juniors Mikayla Butler and Brooke Doggett with doubles.

Cozad 12, Scottsbluff 11

The Bearcats had an 8-3 lead after the top of the sixth inning and led 11-8 with three outs to go in the seventh before Cozad answered with a three-run rally and take the hard-fought, first-round contest.

The Haymakers outhit Scottsbluff 17-14. Bearcat senior Mikka Salazar racked up four RBI on two hits, including a seventh-inning home run for all three SHS runs in the inning.

Junior Barbara Calvert was 3-for-4 with three runs scored, while junior Hannah Brown was 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBI. Junior Lou Ramirez went 2-for-4 with one run scored and senior Brittany Hale was 2-for-2 with two RBI.

McCook 9, Gering 1

The Bulldogs committed seven errors and were held to two hits by McCook pitcher Courtney Bradley in being relegated to the elimination bracket.

Booker had a first-inning triple, driving home Isabel Thompson who had walked, but that would be all the scoring for Gering.

Gering 16, Scottsbluff 4

The Bulldogs put a decisive end to the Bearcats' season by scoring eight runs in the first three innings. Thompson went 3-for-3 for Gering with two runs and three RBI, while Doggett hit a two-run homer in the first inning.

Butler got the pitching victory, striking out five while allowing four hits and two walks. Butler aided her own cause with two hits and two RBI.

Scottsbluff, which committed five errors, finished the season with a 7-21 record, seeing improvements under first-year coach Michael Gentry after the Bearcats started out 1-10.

"As far as some of the things we will be working on for next fall, we will really work on pitching, conditioning and fundamentals," Gentry said. "We really improved in all three of those aspects as the season went on, but we will need to further improve in these areas to be more successful next season.

"I was thrilled to have the quality kids that I had to work with this fall. We know we have a lot of room to grow but I cannot be happier with the future potential in this program. I am very thankful for the great parent, community, and administrative support that I received this year. The seniors will be missed and I couldn’t be more proud to have the quality seniors we had that have set the standard of heart and dedication for this program for years to come."

Gering 7, Cozad 6

The Bulldogs' season continued Friday, and Gering extended it by one more game after scoring its big comeback win over Cozad.

Freshman Allie Wilson hit a three-run homer to start the Bulldogs' comeback rally, plating senior Shelby Schanaman and freshman Jacey Marietta. Booker then tripled to right field, and Rogers ended the game with an ensuing two-run homer to keep Gering alive.

Wilson went 2-for-3 with four RBI and Rogers was 2-for-4 with her two RBI.

Butler allowed three runs over 4 2/3 innings. She struck out seven, walked none and surrendered four hits.

McCook 10, Gering 9

The Bulldogs had 11 hits in their rematch against McCook, but it wasn't enough for Gering (20-9) in the end.

Butler racked up four RBI on three hits for the Bulldogs. She singled in the fourth inning, homered in the fifth inning and doubled in the seventh inning.

Rogers was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, Bohnsack went 2-for-3 with a run scored and sophomore Haylee Duyck went 2-for-4 with one RBI.

"I think this team was really underestimated because we were beating up Scottsbluff, Chadron and Alliance," Bonuchi said. "We weren't ever coming out on top when we were playing McCook, Cozad and North Platte, but going in five of our seven losses were to them and they were only by six runs.

"They just wanted to keep playing, and we had a great season. We're going to miss all the seniors, and with the kids who are returning hopefully we can look for a better season next year."

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