The Hastings Sodbusters get one last chance to win another game at Duncan Field Saturday night when they meet up with the Fremont Moo.
This will be the last game of the season for the ‘Busters, who carry a 20-31 record into the finale set to start at 7:05 p.m.
In Friday’s action, the Fremont Moo put the clamps on the Hastings squad to secure a 5-2 win at Duncan Field.
The Fremont team (33-20) has had the Sodbusters’ number most of this summer. Hastings has secured only three wins against their divisional rivals in the Independence League.
Fremont’s dominance could be tested in tonight’s game, as the Sodbusters vie for a victory one last time before leaving historic Duncan Field.
“I think that our guys are going to come out fired up,” said Sodbusters’ coach Luke Bay. “We haven’t stopped playing hard. We haven’t quit one time this summer. We are going to soak it all in, have fun and keep playing hard.”
Fremont drew first blood in Friday’s game by tallying a run in the second inning. The Moo pushed across a pair of runs in the fifth frame, then two more insurance runs in the ninth frame.
The Sodbusters held the Moo to just eight hits. But Hastings totaled only six hits. Both teams made two errors.
“We would have liked to scratch more runs with six hits,” Bay said. “(Fremont) put up five runs on eight hits. They didn’t play clean defense and we had opportunities. Teams that clinch and make the playoffs, they take advantage of opportunities.”
Hastings took a 2-1 lead in the third inning when the Sodbusters scored a pair of runs. Ironically, the ‘Busters did not get any hits that inning. However, they were aided by two walks, a hit batsman and an error.
Sodbuster base runners Nick Jones and Sawyer both reached home when the Moo made a throwing error. Jones got on with a walk. Duddleston was hit by a pitch.
Those were the only runs that Hastings could muster. But Hastings had its chances, as the Sodbusters left men on base in six innings. A total of 11 Sodbuster base runners were left stranded. Five of them had reached scoring position.
Hastings native Jake Schroeder got the starting nod for pitching duties. Bay relieved Schroeder in the middle of the fifth inning. He left, allowing three runs and three hits. Schroeder fanned five and walked two.
The home crowd loudly applauded Schroeder as he walked away from the mound. He tipped his cap to the home partisans to show his appreciation of their support.
Two other Hastings natives made Friday’s starting lineup. Jacob Shaw started as the second baseman. Luke Brooks — fresh off the American Legion season — was the ‘Busters’ third baseman.
The local pair laced back-to-back singles in the second inning. Shaw closed with two singles. Brooks drew a walk in addition to his single.
Four of Fremont’s eight hits came in the last two innings. Fremont rang up three hits in its two-run final frame. The Moo slammed a lead-off triple in the eighth but couldn’t score the run. Then Fremont clouted a double in the Moo’s two-run final inning.
“They have a very deep lineup, one through nine. They are just a really solid team,” Bay said about the Moo. “They can always really swing it. They have good, polished hitters. They just kind of wear you down.”
FRE (33-20)...010 020 002 — 5 8 2
HAS (20-31)..002 000 000 — 2 6 2
WP — Lucas Hamzeh. L — Jake Schroeder.
2B — F, Ian Graf. H, Nick Jones.
3B — F, Zech Samoya.