FREMONT, Neb. – After 51 games on the diamond this season, Midland University’s baseball season came to a close on Saturday night at Moller Field. The Warriors took on Dordt University in a conference doubleheader that looked to have postseason implications coming into the day. The two teams split a pair of games on the final day of the regular season with a pair of one-run games. The Defenders took game one 6-5 and then the Warriors won 8-7 in the final. The two teams needed some luck from another conference doubleheader to squeeze into the final spot in next week’s conference tournament but were denied as Hastings College retained the 8th-seed with a split with Northwestern College.
Game 1: Dordt 6, Midland 5
After the Defenders broke open the scoring in the top of the 2nd with a run via a solo homer, Midland bounced back with three runs in their half of the inning. Sam Braun singled and drove in Dakota Thornton with a shot down the right field line to get things going with one out. Then after a groundout for the second out, Brendon Jones drove in Braun for the second run. Kyle Weber followed in the next at-bat with a double that scored Jones for a 3-1 lead.
Dordt would regain the lead the next time they came to the plate. They scored three runs on three hits in the third to make it 4-3.
In the bottom of the 3rd, the Warriors responded once again with a pair of runs to seesaw back in front. After a pair of outs with a Matt Abdelnour single sandwiched in between, Trey Nichols got the home dugout jumping with a home run over the left-center wall.
After a scoreless 4th inning for both teams, Dordt struck for a pair of unearned runs in the top of the 5th to take a 6-5 lead. They hit their second home run of the game with two outs, driving Midland starter James Scurto from the game.
The Warriors would muster just one hit and two baserunners over the final three frames as they dropped the first game of the doubleheader.
– James Scurto: 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 K
– Trey Nichols: 1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI
– Brendon Jones: 2-for-2, 1 R
Game 2: Midland 8, Dordt 7
Playing in what would be their final game of the season, both teams used multiple players in the season finale. Dordt had 14 players see action on the field while Midland sent 17 to the field or the mound.
Dordt opened the game with a manufactured run in the top of the 1st. They worked a one-out walk and then took advantage of a Midland error to score via a sacrifice fly to right field to a 1-0 lead.
Just like in game one, the Warriors responded in their half of the inning as Chase Reynold led off with an infield single off the glove of the third baseman. Then Sam Braun drove him in, as well as himself, with a two-run bomb over the leftfield fence.
The next two innings saw each team keep the other at bay offensively.
In the top of the 4th, Dordt’s offense found a gap as they scored a pair of runs on three hits. They had a one-out double followed by a two-out single through the right side that scored a run. After a stolen base, they drove in their second run via a single to right field.
Dordt would add to their lead in the top of the 6th with one run via a sacrifice fly following a walk and stolen base.
Trailing by two runs with just three innings left, Midland’s offense came alive. They would tie the game in the bottom of the 7th as they took advantage of a hit-by-pitch to begin the inning that put Eathan Secrest on base. Javonte Williams came in to pinch run and after Tyler Foster reached via an error, Jack Barrios drove in Williams with an RBI single. Kyle Weber came in to pinch hit with nobody out and deliver with an RBI single that brought home Foster.
After a scoreless top of the 8th, Midland’s bats came alive in the bottom. More accurately put, Brendon Jones’ bat came alive. After Dakota Thornton reached on an infield error and Matt Abdelnour joined him on the base paths via a walk, Jones sent a ball over the left field fence to put Midland up 7-4.
They would add to their lead following a Dordt pitching change as Barrios recorded his second hit of the game, a double down the right field line. That hit drove in Secrest who reached via a hit-by-pitch for the second time in the game.
That run proved to be the winning one as Dordt plated three runs in the top of 9th as they tried to string together one final rally. They score three runs with two out and threatened to force extra innings before Matthew Wickwire struck out the final batter to end the game.
Wickwire pitched 3.0 inning in relief after a solid start by Lucas Hamzeh. Hamzeh six complete innings and allowed just three earned runs while striking out eight batters. Wickwire picked up the win in his final appearance as a Warrior.
– Lucas Hamzeh: 6.0 IP, 8 K, 3 ER
– Matthew Wickwire: 3.0 IP, 4 K, 3 ER
– Sam Braun: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 1 R
– Jack Barrios: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI
– Brendon Jones: 1-for-4, HR, 3 RBI
Midland’s season comes to an end earlier than normal. They finished the season 22-29 (10-18 GPAC). They just missed out on the GPAC Postseason as the ninth-place team in the conference standings. This year’s class, which featured several key contributors this season and in previous years, will be difficult to replace. They were not only players who could perform on the field, they were great teammates in the dugout. The Warriors will look for players within the program, as well as new recruits, to fill the void left by the Class of 2021 next season.