NICKERSON — After three consecutive losses, Hoisington’s baseball team made its own breaks.
The Cardinals played flawless baseball for 6 2/3 innings and salvaged a split with a 6-3 victory over Nickerson in Tuesday’s doubleheader.
Hoisington (3-3) had lost three consecutive games, two in extra innings to Great Bend. Nickerson (4-2) heads to Hoisington for the Class 4A baseball regional on May 14-16.
After leading 6-0, reliever Terry Crawford yielded three runs before striking out Bryon Young for the final out. Conor Gomes and Justin Engelland scored on Quintin Crandall’s double, and Ryan O’Toole doubled home Crandall.
“We’re continuing to figure out how to close out games,” Hoisington coach Tim Schremmer said. “We’re up 6-0 and struggled in the seventh inning. We’ve been right there with a chance to win every game.”
Hoisington’s Ethan Woodcock threw five shutout innings behind brilliant defense. Centerfielder Erik Simpson leaped to catch Crandall’s two-out liner to strand two runners in the third inning. Catcher Colton Zink picked off baserunners in the fourth and fifth innings to end threats.
“Those were huge plays and we showed we’re capable of making those types of plays,” Schremmer said.
Zink doubled home Dylan Bell and scored on a wild pitch for a 2-0 lead in the third inning.
The Cardinals scored four valuable seventh-inning runs for a 6-0 lead off reliever Jake Stiverson. Bell, Zink and Corey Umphrey delivered run-scoring singles. Bryce Steiner scored Bell with a squeeze bunt.
“That was a huge offensive inning to get four runs,” Schremmer said. “We executed the squeeze play and Umphrey got a big two-out base hit.”
In Nickerson’s 3-2 opening victory, Crandall (3-0) struck out nine batters in 3 2/3 innings in relief of Gomes. Crandall showed off a fastball that has been clocked at more than 80 mph.
“Crandall was by far the best pitcher we’ve seen,” Schremmer said. “He throws hard. It’s nice to have an arm like that.”
Gomes, the starting pitcher, retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced. Zink reached on an error and Steiner walked in the fourth inning. Umphrey singled home Zink and Steiner scored on a double steal. Crandall worked out of further trouble with two strikeouts.
Hard-luck loser Caleb Larson (1-2) yielded three runs in the third inning. Gomes was hit by a pitch and Justin Engelland walked. They moved into scoring position on an attempted pickoff play and Crandall delivered a two-run single. Crandall scored the third run on alert baserunning.
Hoisington travels to Hays-Thomas More Prep-Marian on Friday.
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
Nickerson 3, Hoisington 2
123 456 7 R H E
Hoisington 000 200 0 — 2 1 1
Nickerson 003 000 x — 3 3 2
Larson and Steiner. Gomes, Crandall (4) and Berridge. W — Crandall; L — Larson.
Hoisington 6, Nickerson 3
123 456 7 R H E
Hoisington 002 000 4 — 6 10 1
Nickerson 000 000 3 — 3 7 1
Woodcock, Crawford (6) and Zink. O’Toole, Stiverson (6) and Berridge. W — Woodcock; L — O’Toole. 2B — NHS, Gomes, O’Toole, Crandall; HHS, Zink.