Beulah keeps rolling, finishes week 9-1
BY JARANN JOHNSON
The Beulah Miners started last week with a big Region 8 win against Shiloh Christian. The Miners won the region counter game 5-1 but fell in the doubleheader’s night cap 11-3, which gave them their first loss of the season.
Winning the regional counter against Shiloh put the Miners in a strong position to grab the No. 1 seed for the Region 8 tournament. The Miners knew over-valuing their win and suffering a Region 8 loss to Washburn would undo their strong early-season start.
Adam Becker, Beulah senior, started at pitcher for the Miners and was put in charge of keeping his team’s unbeaten Region 8 record going. Karson Backer, Washburn/Wilton/Center-Stanton junior, started for the Cardinals at pitcher and was focused on getting a confi dence-building win for his squad.
WWCS had an early first inning chance to go up on Beulah on the road. Sophomore Trevor Schreiner approached the plate with runners on fi rst and second with two outs.
Becker closed the door on WWCS’ early chance to score, retiring Schreiner. Backer would also face a dangerous point in the fi rst inning.
Beulah loaded the bases with one out and Alec Battest, a senior, approaching the plate. Battest, the No. 5 hitter, failed to bring the run in, pushing Backer closer to escaping WWCS’ dangerous predicament without giving up any runs.
Backer’s next challenge was getting Hayden Norton out. Norton, a senior, stayed patient in the box and forced a walk, which gave the Miners a 1-0 lead.
Backer didn’t let his struggle with pitching command impact his next battle. Backer retired Josh Remmick to end the inning.
WWCS’ ideas of tying the game in the top of the second were quickly alleviated by Becker. Becker struck out WWCS’ No. 6, No. 7 and No. 8 batters in consecutive order to preserve the lead.
Unlucky fate struck for Backer in the bottom of the second. Brandon Elton, Beulah senior, advanced to third base on a pitch that got away from the catcher. John Suter hit a one-run single, making Beulah’s lead 2-0.
Backer showed composure by limiting the damage to a single run for Beulah. The third inning was all business for both teams and no runs were scored.
Heading into the fourth, WWCS was in striking distance and still had a chance to ruin Beulah’s perfect Region 8 record if they could manage hits. But, once again, Becker pitched strongly and retired three-straight WWCS batters.
In the bottom of the fourth inning Becker got run support from the Beulah bats. Suter, the leadoff hitter, beat Backer for his second one-run single of the game, making the score 3-0 in Beulah’s favor. But just like most of the game, a single run wasn’t enough to break Backer.
Beulah didn’t manage to turn their runs into any serious momentum, leaving WWCS with a twinkle of hope. WWCS’ twinkle of hope turned into much more in the bottom of the fifth.
Becker committed a pitching faux pas – walking WWCS’ leadoff batter Braydee Hansen. Becker’s faux pas hurt later in the inning, when Hansen stole third base on a pitch the catcher couldn’t corral.
Becker seemed in trouble. There were two outs and a man on third, but he was struggling with control.
WWCS sophomore Nolan Teigen was up 3-0 in the pitching count, leaving WWCS in a favorable position to draw some runs. Becker battled back with two consecutive strikes but his third attempt was ruled outside the strike zone, resulting in a walk.
Beulah Head Coach Bob Koch showed faith in his senior pitcher, leaving him in the game for the next at-bat. Backer capitalized on his tiring pitching counterpart with a one-run single, ending Becker’s shutout.