Cashing in on scoring opportunities and getting a gem pitching performance from Jacob Rush was enough for the Cozad Reds Seniors to score a 4-3 opening round victory over McCook on Friday in the Nebraska B6 District Baseball Tournament at Muni Park in Cozad.
The score remained 0-0 throughout the first inning of play, but it was in the top of the second inning that the Reds started heating up with Nate Bubak singling to open up the frame. Joining Bubak on the basepaths was Tysen Werner as a result of a great hustle play. Both Bubak and Werner were able to use their elite speed to circle the sacks and score for Cozad as Hank Pflaster got on base via an error and threatened to score as well.
Cozad led 2-0 at the end of the second inning and then were able to inch away on the scoreboard with a manufactured run in the top of the third inning. Speedster Jake Paulsen belted a pitch into the power alley of left field to reach second base on a double. During the ensuing at-bat, Conor Young followed suit and connected on an RBI-single into left field to score Paulsen and make the score 3-0. Colin Wetovick also singled to keep the rally alive, but it was a stellar catch and double-play by the McCook defense that extinguished the scoring rally and kept the score at 3-0 through three innings of play.
Looking to build on the momentum they just had swing their direction, the Bison got Mitchell Reitz on base on a hard-to-handle hit to the leftside of the infield. Reitz would then score on a ground out by Travis Wallen to make the score 3-1 at the end of the fourth inning of play.
The McCook scoring rally didn’t stop in the fourth inning, as they got to the top of their batting order in the fifth inning and were able to benefit greatly with a pair of runs scored by Cole Peters and Kaden Sitzman to knot the score at 3-3.
Showing no fear, the Cozad offense sought an opportunity to regain the lead in the top of the sixth inning and got just what the doctor ordered. Tysen Werner led off with a single into left field and then advanced to third base on Hank Pflaster’s single that he tried to stretch into a double. After a Chase Dugan walk was issued, Simon Rangel connected on an RBI-groundout to the shortstop to score Werner and make the scoreboard display 4-3 in favor of the Reds at the end of the sixth inning.
Cozad wasn’t able to score in the top of the seventh inning and the score remained 4-3 with Nate Bubak coming into the game in an attempt to earn the save, relieving Jacob Rush who had thrown six innings while allowing just two hits and striking out three batters.
With ice in his veins, Bubak was dynamite in shutting down the McCook comeback attempt while retiring the side in order to earn the save and score Cozad a 4-3 victory.
Reds centerfielder Jake Paulsen was 2-4 at the dish with a double and run scored.
Tysen Werner scored twice for the Cozad Seniors which included the game winner.
Score By Innings
Cozad 0210 010- 4
McCook 0001 200- 3
As a result of their opening round win, the Cozad Seniors faced off with top seed Holdrege on Sunday evening at Muni Park. The Reds scored early and often to net an 8-3 victory over the First Nationals.
Playing with gumption, the Reds scored twice in the opening inning with Jake Paulsen singling and then scoring on Nate Bubak’s RBI-single. Soon thereafter, Bubak circled the sacks to score on Tysen Werner’s RBI single to left field to give Cozad a 2-0 lead at the end of the first inning.
In the top of the third inning, the Reds extended their lead to 3-0 as a result of Jake Paulsen getting hit by a pitch and then scoring on a single by Nate Bubak into centerfield.
Holdrege was able to answer the scoring effort by Cozad in the inning when Jacob Fuehrer singled then back to back singles by Walker Hohensee and Ty Dahl resulted in Fuehrer scoring for the First Nationals to make the score 3-1 at the end of the third inning.
The score remained 3-1 until Cozad added breathing room and with a scoring surge in the fifth inning with Reds Jake Paulsen and Conor Young leading off with a double and single. Both Paulsen and Young along with Colin Wetovick scored for the Reds in the frame to extend the Cozad lead to 6-1 at the end of the fifth inning.
During the sixth and seventh innings, Cozad was able to inch away on the scoreboard with Mitchell Fischer scoring in the sixth after earning a walk and Chase Dugan circling the bases to score and gain insurance on the scoreboard to the tune of 8-1 in favor of the Reds.
With their backs against the wall, the Holdrege offense was able to muster a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning with Jake Samuelson and Andrew Maaske scoring but that was as close as they would get as Cozad relief pitcher Brendan Molden and the Reds suffocating defense closed the door on the comeback attempt with Cozad notching the 8-3 victory over Holdrege.
Coming up big for the Reds was Nate Bubak with a 2-4 outing at the dish with a run scored and three RBI’s.
Jake Paulsen finished 2-2 with a double, two stolen bases and three runs scored for the Reds.
On the mound, Simon Rangel earned the win with six innings pitched while scattering seven hits and striking out three batters.
Score By Innings
Cozad 2010 311- 8
Holdrege 0010 002- 3