WAVERLY— The Pierce Juniors run through the Class B Junior state tournament came to an end on Tuesday, as they fell to Waverly 8-0 in five innings.
The Waverly bats came alive at Lawson Park, while Pierce couldn’t find an answer on offense as they found themselves in the hole in the fourth inning and couldn’t get out of it.
“They were just hitting the ball hard that inning,” Pierce coach Mike Emory said. “We tried to get one run there towards the end to extend the game, but it just wasn’t meant to be.”
The Class B Junior state tournament elimination game featured a pitcher’s duel between the starting pitcher of Pierce’s Haiden Magnussen and Waverly’s James Van Cleave until the fourth inning came around.
Waverly first got on the board in the fourth inning on a triple that was hit over the centerfielders head by Nolan Maahs to score Eli Russell.
Two batters later, Owen Carrillo reached base on a bunt single as he and Russell later scored on a single up the middle by Trey Jackson. Carrillo then scored on a single to centerfield by Jarrett Ballinger.
Waverly then loaded the bases and scored two more runs on an error, then later Maahs knocked in two more runs to make it 8-0.
On the offensive end, Pierce couldn’t come up with a response.
Pierce reached base via a walk four times, but they couldn’t find the grass as they were no hit by Van Cleave.
“That kid was one of the best pitchers we’ve seen all season—he got ahead in the count and had good command,” Emory said. “He was a little quicker than what we were used to seeing, and we just didn’t put any pressure on him.”
Pierce’s Magnussen went four innings on the mound as he had five strikeouts but allowed nine hits and was handed the loss.
“Haiden did a good job for three innings, but they were getting his pitch count up pretty quickly,” Emory said. “He started the game off right but then all of a sudden the pitch count was quickly adding up for him.”
Waverly will play Beatrice on Wednesday at 1 p.m. for the Class B Junior state championship, while Pierce is headed home as they finished the season with a 23-6 record.
“They were an unbelievable group—it’s hats off to them and it goes back to all of the work they have done since they were 5-years-old,” Emory said.
Waverly — 000 80X X — 8 9 0
Pierce — 000 00X X — 0 0 1
WP- Van Cleave; LP- Magnussen; 3B- W-Russell, Maahs.