The Norfolk Elkhorn Valley Bank Seniors finished the final home doubleheader of the season with two wins against Columbus. They picked up the 6-3 win in the first game and they went on to win 11-3 in six innings, in the nightcap.
In a season to remember, it looked like a lost season for the Norfolk baseball team back when their spring season got canceled, but they were able to start games on June 19 and the seniors were able to play together in one last season.
“It’s been crazy — I’m sad that we don’t have an area or state tournament because these guys are competing very well, right now,” Norfolk coach Darrel Bradley said.“It’s been a blessing and we’ve had a blast being able to play. It’s been a great run.”
There were celebrations all around for the Norfolk baseball team as three super seniors and seven seniors played in their final doubleheader in Norfolk as they won their 18th game of the season on American Legion Family night.
“You have to give credit to this team — they’re not playing for anything and we’re not playing for a championship. They never give up and they continue to battle,” Bradley said. “It’s been an amazing ride.”
In the opening game of the night, Norfolk trailed Columbus 3-2 going in the sixth inning, but they were able to put together a huge two-out rally.
“We don’t give up — sometimes it takes us to get used to the pitcher but we were hitting the ball hard and they started to fall,” Bradley said.
Grant Colligan started the inning with a single, later Jared Ertzner reached base on an error by the Columbus shortstop and then Brett O’Brien singled to right field, loading the bases.
With two outs, Dylan Rodgers lifted a line shot over the shortstop’s glove and two runs were able to score, giving Norfolk a 4-3 lead.
“I was trying to go up there, put the ball in play and get the team going,” Dylan Rodgers said. “One we start hitting, we can get going.”
Ryland Bates came up next as he knocked Rodgers and O’Brien in on a single down the leftfield line, which extended the lead to 6-3.
On the mound, Norfolk’s Rodgers was able get stronger as the game went on as he was able to fan four Columbus hitters and allowed five hits in seven complete innings.
“He’s been really lights out this year,” Bradley said. “He had a good outing, we’ve seen better, but he continued to stay mentally strong.”
Rodgers counterpart Cole Wilcox was containing the Norfolk’s bats as well as he could as he rung up three and gave up 6 earned runs in five and two-third innings of work.
Norfolk was able to tie the game at 2-2 in the second inning on a 2-RBI single to right field by O’Brien after Brody Luhr reached base via a walk and Colby Mrsny singled to centerfield.
Columbus responded in the top frame of the third frame with a run but it was the last time they would score.
But later in the game after the four-run sixth inning, Rodgers forced Columbus to hit three straight groundouts in the top of the seventh frame to end the game.
“At first I couldn’t locate and I couldn’t get a feel for my pitches but as the game went on I was able to settle down,” Rodgers said. “I was able to gain my control and tempo.”
In the second game, Norfolk had another big inning, which led to the 11-3 win.
After trailing 3-1 heading into the bottom the fourth inning, Norfolk was able score five runs and hit through the order.
“We made mistakes in inopportune times and we gave them an opportunity to climb right back into the game, in both games,” Columbus coach Cody Schilling said. “We didn’t shore things up and do what we needed to do in the field.”
Sam Jagels, Jared Ertzner, Colby Mrsny, and Rodgers all singled in the inning while Ryland Bates broke the 3-3 tie with a bloop single over the shortstop’s reach.
Norfolk’s offense came alive and pitcher, Carter Faltys took the momentum along with the bats.
In five and two-thirds innings, Faltys had nine strikeouts while he allowed four hits and gave up three walks.
“He left the ball up in the zone early on but he settled down and had a great game,” Bradley said.
Norfolk was able to add three more runs in the fifth and ended the game in the sixth on an RBI-single by Mrsny.
Bates, Ertzner and Mrsny each had a multi-hit game while they combined to have seven RBIs and scored five runs.
The super seniors on Norfolk include Faltys, Rodgers and Jaden Driscoll. It was a year they didn’t know if they would have but they were able to play with each other one last time.
“We didn’t know if we were going to have a season but we all wanted to play one last time. Just to get out here, have fun and win some big games,” Rodgers said. “
The Norfolk Elkhorn Valley Bank Seniors will see the field one last time this season in a doubleheader at Hastings on Tuesday.
“It will be kind of sad,” Rodgers said. “It will be fun to play at Duncan Field – we will be ready.”
Columbus 201 000 0 — 3 5 2
Norfolk 020 004 0 — 6 10 1
WP: Rodgers; LP: Wilcox.
Columbus 201 000 X — 3 4 4
Norfolk 001 532 X —11 9 2
WP: Faltys; LP: Flyr; 2B: Columbus, Kobza, Wilcox.