After fouling a bunt attempt, Ethan Salber roped a bases-loaded single through a drawn-in Neligh infield and drove in the winning run in a 4-3 extra-inning victory by the Albion Senior Legion in its 2008 season opener Wednesday, May 21, at the Albion Sports Complex.
The local Seniors rallied from a one-run deficit to tie the score in the sixth frame and wiggled out of a bases-loaded one-out jam in the top of the eighth before scoring the game-winner in the bottom of the inning.
The Seniors’ winning rally began in the sixth inning, as the locals took advantage of one of Neligh’s seven errors.
Keir Dane Harner reached on a miscue by Neligh’s rightfielder to open the frame, advanced on a single by Ryan Shotkoski and knotted the score at 3-3 when Brett Nelson delivered his second single of the contest.
Albion reliever Kraig Flanagan worked in and out of trouble in the top of the eighth inning, loading the bases with a one-out walk, a hit batsman and an error. Albion came out unscathed when Flanagan induced consecutive pop-ups to first baseman Matt Thorberg.
In the bottom of the inning, pinch-hitter Brent Dawson singled with one out, stole second base and continued to third when the throw from Neligh catcher Jay Reicks sailed into centerfield. Salber followed by lining a 1-1 pitch through the right side of the infield for the victory.
Albion starter Kalvin Zoucha allowed just one hit in four-and-two-thirds innings – a two-run double by Reicks in the fifth that gave Neligh its 3-2 lead. Flanagan twirled three-and-a-third hitless innings to pick up the win for the Seniors. Zoucha fanned 10, while walking two and hitting three batters. Flanagan struck out four, walked a pair and hit one batter.
Albion’s American Legion Juniors didn’t need a lot of offense in their contest, as hurlers Lane Anderson and Dustin Martin and sharp defense keyed a 4-1 victory over Neligh.
Starter Anderson offset a first-inning walk with a pair of strikeouts, then set Neligh down 1-2-3 in each of the second and third innings.
Albion scored its initial run in the bottom of the first as Dusty Dozler reached by error and came home on Nathan Olson’s two-out single. The locals went up 2-0 in the second when Alex Schafer was hit by a pitch and Jerad McLean doubled, then added a run in the third on two walks, a stolen base and a passed ball.
The visitors scored their only run in the fourth with a hit batsman and two singles, but had each of three baserunners eliminated by Albion defensive plays in the final two frames.
Olson concluded scoring in the fifth, tripling and coming home on Lane Anderson’s base hit.
Anderson earned the win with a four-hitter, striking out five and walking just two. Martin pitched a scoreless sixth for his first save of the season.
Complete Details and Box Scores in Print Edition of Albion News.