Norfolk's Juniors squandered a 3-0 lead in the opener and mustered just one hit in the nightcap in dropping both games of a double header to Columbus, 5-4 and 8-0 on Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Park.
“We just didn't make plays in the first game,” Norfolk coach Derron Davis said. “The second game, they came out and just hit and we didn't hit.”
Playing as the visitors in the first game, Norfolk shot out quickly. Columbus pitcher Caleb Van Dyke hit the first two batters he faced — Dustin Brenden and Andrew Papstein. Brayden Lammers followed with a triple to left-center to drive in those two and Colton Price grounded out to the right side to score Lammers and put Norfolk on top 3-0.
Columbus got a run back in the bottom of the first. Colin Flyr singled, stole second and scored on a two-out error.
The Platte County kids tied it up in second. Tyson Groene reached on an infield hit and moved to second on an error. Justin Gaston's double scored Groene and Tanner Kobza's based hit drove in Gaston.
Kobza gave Columbus the lead in the fourth with an RBI single that plated Gaston, who, an inning later, drove in Cody Zrust for an important insurance run that made the score 5-3.
The Norfolk Juniors mustered just three hits through six innings, but Brenden gave them life in the top of the seventh with a one-out single and stolen base. Papstein flied out to center but Lammers followed with a base hit to drive in Brenden and pull Norfolk within a run.
Price then walked and Norfolk had the tying and go-ahead runs on first and second with two outs, but Grant Colligan struck out swinging and Columbus held on for the 5-4 win.
“Today was a little off,” Davis said, “because we spent the whole week not practicing on the field with the rain, so it's just been tough. But we're still improving, so that's a good thing.”
Brody Konz worked the first two innings on the mound for Norfolk, giving up three runs, two earned, five hits and striking out two. Landon Vaughan took the loss after throwing three innings in relief and giving up two runs, on six hits and recording two strikeouts.
Brenden and Lammers each had two hits for Norfolk.
“Those are two of my guys who are pretty consistent this year,” Davis said. “They have a 'Don't go down!' mentality and that's what we're trying to preach to the entire program here.”
Flyr took the mound for Columbus in the second game and retired all 12 Norfolk batters he faced in the first four innings.
The visitors scored one run in the first and sent 11 hitters to the plate in the in the second while scoring seven runs on five hits.
Zrust took over mound duties for Columbus in the bottom of the fifth and gave up a base hit to Price to end the perfect game. Zrust then shut down the next three Norfolk hitters to end the game on the eight-run rule, 8-0 in five innings.
Lammers suffered the pitching loss after working an inning-plus, giving up three runs, two hits and two walks.
“Basically we just got beat in the second game both at the plate and on the mound,” Davis said, "and the first game we just gave it to them,”
With the losses, Norfolk fell to 4-11 on the year and is scheduled to play in a tournament on Saturday and Sunday in Sioux Falls.
Davis said his kids will be ready. “We have to come ready to play and ready to win.”
Norfolk 300 000 1 — 4 5 2
Columbus 120 110 x — 5 12 0
WP: Caleb Van Dyke; LP: Landon Vaughan; 2B: C – Justin Gaston, Colin Flyr; 3B: N – Brayden Lammers.
Columbus 170 00 — 8 8 0
Norfolk 000 00 — 0 1 1
WP: Flyr; LP: Lammers; 2B: C – Tanner Kobza; 3B: C – Taden Bell.