Gering PVC seniors finish season in final four play at state
     2011-08-04      By Pedro Escobar, Special to the Citizen   
Photo by Pedro Escobar Runner Colin Chatterton preps for action leading off second during the regular season. 
It was the second straight state tournament for the Gering Platte Valley Companies Senior team, and the first back to back state tournament appearances since the early 80s.

The first game featured the B7 champs, Gering, against the B1 champs, Beatrice. These two teams had faced each other earlier in the year where Gering won a close one 3-2.

It was a fast start for both teams in the first inning. Beatrice scored two runs to break open the game and Gering got one back in the bottom of the inning only being down by one.

The second inning was nothing but good defense as both teams went blank to keep the score the same.
In the third Beatrice looked to add some more runs but Zach Smith got off to a good start pitching for a strikeout to get the first out.

After getting a man on base, the next Beatrice hitter hit a groundball over to Grant Rimington who picked up, pitched it to Reyes who stepped on second for the first out who then threw it to Burgener for a six, four, three double play. It was a great outing for the infield.

Unfortunately Gering could not compliment their great defensive plays with some solid hitting as they too went blank in the third inning.

The top of the fourth was a nightmare inning for Gering defensively. After loading the bases Beatrice was able to bring one home extending their lead 3-1. Later throughout the inning Beatrice kept pounding the ball getting base hits and stand up doubles which got them six runs in this inning opening a big 8-1 lead.

After getting shut out in the bottom of the fourth, Gering instilled some life back into the team scoring four runs in the bottom of the fifth to cut the lead down 8-5.

Beatrice quickly answered back in their next at bats extending the three point lead to six. The Beatrice offense was too much for Gering and they lost their tournament opener 14-8. Gering was now one loss away from ending their season.

The Gering senior team has shown plenty of resiliency and grit throughout this season, and the way they won their next game was a testament to that.

Four innings of play had gone by and Gering was down to the home team 5-1 in an elimination game. They were nine outs away from packing their bags and taking an early trip home.

The next three innings were a completely new ball game and it started with Gering scoring three runs in the fifth to cut the lead 5-4.

Danny O達oyle finally settled down and made it difficult for Central City to get anything going in the final three innings.

The sixth inning brought three more runs for Gering, taking a 7-5 lead into the final inning. Two more insurance runs in the seventh brought the lead up to four and that痴 all she wrote for Central City.
Gering found a way to come back and avoid being eliminated from the tournament with a great 9-5 win.
Josh Burgener got an RBI in the game helping his team out. Reggie Reyes and Smith each had two RBI痴, and O達oyle had a great game driving in three.

The following game was an elimination game against Steward. Things looked a little shaky in the beginning with Steward quickly going up 2-0.

Staying alive Gering had another elimination game the following day against Steward.
Things were a little shaky in the beginning as Steward took an early 2-0 lead in the game.
Gering would quickly answer back in the bottom of the inning.

Nate Marquez started things off by drawing a walk. After a Rimington fly out Marquez got the signal and stole second base to put himself in scoring position. The next at bat Smith also drew a walk and Gering now had a man on first and second. O達oyle then flew out but the long ball helped advance Marquez and Smith to third and second.

Bret Hutchison then drew a walk himself to load up the bases. Colin Chatterton then came and hit a two run single to score Marquez and Smith to the tie up the ball game.

Both teams went silent in the second and Gering kept Steward quiet in the third as well. It seemed as if Steward would match that in the bottom of the inning up until Hutchison drilled a ball out to left field for the solo homerun which put Gering in front 3-2.

The next inning brought Steward to the bats with some steam, they quickly got two men on base with no outs. The next play had a groundball hit to O達oyle who pitched it to Reyes who then threw it to Burgener for a huge double play.

Rimington then complimented the infield with a strikeout to end the inning and keep a one run lead.
Gering matched the defensive intensity on offense in the bottom of the fourth and it started with a line drive by Burgener out to left field who then slid in to second for a lead off double. Reyes then hit a ground ball to the left field for a single and advanced Burgener to third.

Unfortunately Reyes went a little too far rounding first and got picked off for an out.
Walker Bristch then came up to bat and hit a deep ball that looked like it was leaving the ball park, but it hit the fence and Bristch hit an RBI double to score Burgener and extend the lead 4-2.

The top of the order came next with Marquez, hitting a ball through a hole to right field for a single RBI. Gering was now up 5-2.

Once again Steward made some moves to put runners in scoring position, and once again Gering answered with great defensive plays to stop their flurries.

After one quick out to start the inning, Steward runner tried to steal third from second but Gering picked him off for a big out. Rimington then continued his solid pitching and retired Steward with another strikeout.

Moving on to the seventh inning, Gering went up 7-2 but Steward added two runs of their own to cut the lead down to three.

With three outs left Rimington started things out with a strikeout to start the final inning for the first out. Steward then got a man on third and second and the tying run was at the plate. O達oyle then made an over the shoulder catch to get the second out and keep the runners from scoring.

Gering then finished Steward off with a groundball out to first and kept their tournament hope alive.
Two wins down in back to back elimination games for Gering. The pressure was on but they kept their composure and simply played good solid baseball.

For the second straight year Gering found themselves in the final four, but their eye was on a much bigger accomplishment.

The next game featured a rematch and the third game between the two, Gering and Beatrice.
In a pitchers duel Gering was up 1-0 after two innings of play.

After going blank in the top of the third on offense, Smith took control of the game in the bottom of the inning, throwing for three consecutive strike outs and a one, two, three outs to retire Beatrice.
Smith was throwing exceptional and was on cruise but after Smith threw for his eighth strikeout of the game for the first out, Beatrice shook things up in the bottom of the fifth inning taking a 2-1 lead.
Unfortunately Gering was not able to find a way to hit on the Beatrice pitcher and their season was ended with a tough 2-1 loss.

Smith had a great game and ended with 10 strikeouts.
Missed opportunities really hurt Gering. They had runners in scoring position in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth inning but was not able to capitalize on any of them.

It痴 not the way a team wants to go down, especially when you get a great pitching performance from the man on the mound, but when all is said and done Gering Platte Valley Companies senior team has many reasons to hold their head high.

They played good solid baseball all season and represented Gering well in the state tournament.
Next season looks like another promising year with Gering brining back most of their starters and only losing a few seniors on the team. Gering looks forward to seeing them again next summer.

Congratulations to the senior team and the coaching staff on another district championship and state tournament final four finish.

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