COLORADO Springs, Colo. – The Western Nebraska Community College baseball team ended their season on Saturday after splitting a pair of games at the Region IX baseball tournament in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

                The Cougars opened Saturday with a 5-4 win over Otero College to remain alive in the tournament. The Cougars, later Saturday night after several rain delays, WNCC was eliminated after falling to Northeastern Junior College 10-5.

                WNCC finished third at the regional tournament and finished the season at 30-30. Southeast Community College went on to win the regional tournament for the third straight year when they defeated NJC 11-3 on Sunday.

                In the game against Otero on Saturday, WNCC scored all five of their runs in the second inning as they took the early 5-0 lead. For Otero they scored one run in four different innings, but the Cougar defense minimized those runs to get the win.

                The second inning for the Cougars was huge. Ashton Ross started the inning with a single. Tyler Easter then got on after a fielder’s choice hits. That followed with three straight singles including run-scoring singles from Kensei Oikawa and Calvin Johnson for a 2-0 lead. With two out and two on, Hunter McCollum took a 1-and-2 count and sent the ball over the leftfield fence for a 3-run home run and the 5-0 lead.

                Otero added single runs in the second and third to make it 5-2. The Rattlers added another in the fifth and then closed to within 5-4 with a run in the seventh but the Cougar defense held for the win.

                WNCC finished with eight hits in the contest. Ross and Johnson each had two hits. McCollum had the only extra base hit in the contest with a home run. McCollum also had three RBIs.

                Nick Tremblay got the win with six strong innings with six hits, three runs, and two strikeouts. Gus Allred got the save, going three innings with three hits, one run, and one strikeout.

                In the late game Saturday against Northeastern Junior College. The Plainsmen scored five runs in the second inning to grab the lead and then held on for the 10-5.

                That game saw NJC score one in the on a home run. WNC answered in the bottom of the first with one run when Bryce Peterson singles and scored on a Ross single.

                NJC came right back with that big 5-run second inning on six hits and one error with three of the runs coming with two outs.

                WNCC came back and made it a 6-4 game with three runs in the fourth. Oikawa started the inning with a double followed by Dylan Harris reaching on an error. McCollum then drove in both runs with a triple and later scored on a passed bal.

                WNCC added another run in the fifth to make it 6-5. With two outs, Oikawa singled and later scored on a single by Johnson.

                NJC got one back in the sixth and then added three insurance runs in the ninth for the final margin.

                WNCC and NJC each had 12 hits in the contest. Oikawa led the way with three hits including a double and two runs scored. Ross and Easter each had two hits, while McCollum led the way with two RBIs along with a triple.

                WNCC ends the season at 30-30 and graduates 14 sophomores. But the Cougars have plenty of young talent coming back next year.


Game 1

WNCC                050 000 000 – 5 8 4

Otero                   011 010 100 – 4 9 1

WP – Nick Tremblay; S – Gus Allred.

HR – Hunter McCollum.


Game 2

NJC                       150 001 003 – 10 12 1

WNCC                100 310 000 – 5 12 3

LP – Rocco Harmon.

2B – Kensei Oikawa, Tyler Easter.

3B – Hunter McCollum.