BEAMAN - East Marshall used the day to get its greenhorn pitchers some reps. BCLUW used it for batting practice.
The Comet Baseball Invitational championship went to its host Saturday as BCLUW out-slugged the Mustangs for a 14-11 victory.
On a sizzling summer day with both teams playing their second contest, the two squads combined for 31 hits and 11 errors.
T-R PHOTO BY TRAVIS HINES
Max Callaway of BCLUW, right, slides safely past East Marshall catcher Josh Benzing during the championship game of the Comet Baseball Invitational on Saturday in Beaman. The host Comets took a 14-11 decision over the NICL West title-winner Mustangs.
"You get to the second game of a weekend tournament, and it's going to be 'Who Can Score The Most Runs,'" said BCLUW head coach Matt Zoske.
Both teams found their stride at the plate early, with the Comets, batting in the visitors' half, taking a 6-3 lead through 1 1/2 innings, only to see back-to-back home runs by East Marshall's Dalton Beadle and John Bloom knot the score at 6-all.
Josh Benzing then delivered a run-scoring single that brought across two Mustangs after a BCLUW error to give an 8-6 edge to East Marshall, the NICL West champions.
Undaunted, the Comets added two runs in each of the next four innings to build a 14-8 lead that would withstand a sixth-inning push from the Mustangs.
"That was nice that we were able to keep scoring, know that we were going to add to the lead," Zoske said. "Getting runs every inning really kept our confidence at the plate."
East Marshall used two freshman, a sophomore and one junior to pitch during the game until the seventh, when the Mustangs turned to senior Dakotah Wolken, who tallied three-straight strikeouts.
Brock Pieters hurled two innings to be the pitcher of record for the Mustangs.
"We use weekend tournaments to try to get a lot of the youngsters experience pitching," said East Marshall head coach Justin Frost. "We really use it to get practice for our pitching."
Chad Dolphin notched three hits, including one double, and recorded an RBI for BCLUW. Isaac Novak, Cole Thompson and Robert Sharp all had a pair of hits while Joel Steckelberg had two RBIs.
Wolken had a 5-for-5 day at the plate with a double for East Marshall while teammate Zach Rubenbauer had four hits, three going for doubles. Bloom had three hits and five RBIs while Beadle had a trio of base knocks and two runs batted in.
BCLUW starter Conner Ubben recovered from East Marshall's early onslaught by keeping the Mustangs off the board in the third, fourth and fifth innings of the slugfest.
"Ubben started mixing his breaking ball better and we didn't really handle it too well," said Frost. "We jumped on some first-pitch breaking balls that we probably shouldn't have. We got out front and just hit little ground balls.
"What it really came down to is Ubben started mixing his breaking ball, and we just struggled with it a little bit."
Ubben earned the win from the mound, but needed Tyler Lutes' help to finish the day off after East Marshall plated three in the sixth to make things interest.
Lutes entered with two outs and the bases loaded, the score 14-11, and tallied a strikeout to get out of the jam.
"Our pitchers threw really well," Zoske said. "That was the difference between us winning and losing the game, really. Our two guys really did a great job."
The Comets beat Dike-New Hartford 7-4 in the day's opener, while East Marshall topped Sumner-Fredericksburg, 11-6.
BCLUW faces GMG on Monday while East Marshall goes to Aplington-Parkersburg.