Washburn-Wilton-Center-Stanton Cardinals Baseball
By Jarann Johnson
The Washburn/Wilton/Center-Stanton (WWCS) Cardinals started the Region 8 tournament Monday afternoon hoping to stay on the winner’s side of the bracket. WWCS didn’t reach their goal, falling to Hazen 9-1.
The score is a misnomer in terms of how close the game was until the bottom of the sixth. In the bottom of the sixth Hazen scored five runs to pull away.
Before the sixth inning things started closely. Chase Bruner started the game for the Hazen Bison and threw a scoreless top frame.
WWCS junior Karson Backer started in the bottom frame. Backer and WWCS didn’t get off to a good start.
Hazen’s leadoff batter reached base on an error and the No. 2 batter reached base on a walk. Backer got the next out via a fielder’s choice, but Hazen had runners on second and third.
The good news for Backer was that he found his groove striking out three consecutive Hazen batters to escape the dangerous early game situation. The bad news for Backer and WWCS was committing two errors in the opening frame, which helped Hazen grab a 1-0 lead.
WWCS almost made up for their mistakes in the top of the second by loading the bases with one out. WWCS’ Head Coach Kip Erickson called for a suicide squeeze bunt by Braydee Hansen, but Nolan Tiegen was tagged out at home plate.
WWCS’ last chance of the inning ended in a fielder’s choice leaving Hazen in the lead. The game transitioned to the bottom of the second.
Backer walked the first two Hazen batters, which led to a bases loaded with no outs situation. Hazen tried to bunt in a run but Lawson Babb was tagged out at home.
It looked like WWCS was going to escape the inning without giving up a run after they forced another home plate tag. But once again an error hurt WWCS. Catcher Nolan Teigen committed an error allowing Hazen to score their second run of the game.
WWCS had a chance to get one run back in the top of the third. Backer drew a walk to get on base and advanced to third with two outs but once again WWCS couldn’t break through, leaving Hazen in the lead.
In the bottom of the third Backer walked the leadoff hitter, making it the third time in the game a Hazen leadoff batter reached via walk or error. The walk hurt when Hazen senior Logan Sailer hit a two-out one-run single, giving Hazen a 3-0 lead.
Even though WWCS started the first three innings of the game badly, they were only down three runs and had a chance to come back. WWCS’ chances of coming back grew dramatically in the fourth inning.