The Hastings Sodbusters were rained out on Wednesday against Hub City, so Thursday called for a pair of seven-inning affairs.
Hastings would win both; good for a series victory against the Hotshots. The Sodbusters won the first contest by a score of 10-1, and the second 2-1.
Although he gave up an early run and had other shaky moments, Trey Kissack looked strong in his game one start. Kissack tossed six innings and gave up five hits and walked two runners.
The one run that he did allow was unearned, and Kissack struck out eight Hotshots. Lee would close for the Sodbusters and record one strikeout in his one inning of work, facing four batters.
“Trey pitched incredible. Honestly, he wasn’t even feeling that great. Despite not feeling well, he still wanted the ball and wanted to compete. Hats off to him, he made a lot of really nice pitches,” head coach Bryan Frew said. “Doubleheaders mess up the rotation, so having him go deep into the game was really good for us.”
Hastings exploded for nine runs in the bottom of the sixth in game one, dismantling any rhythm of Hub City starter Michael Ortega that had been there for much of the prior five innings.
Alec Lee doubled to right field to lead off the bottom of the sixth, bringing Justin Henry to the plate. Henry would chop a seeing-eye single into shallow left field, but it was slow enough and deep enough to bring in Lee from second, taking the lead, 2-1.
Following his single, Henry advanced to third on a throwing error to first after Anthony De Santis laid down a sacrifice bunt. De Santis would reach first and extend the no-out momentum acquired by Hastings.
Small ball would continue to benefit the Busters, as Anthony Ortega laid down a bunt to follow De Santis’ lead. Hub City pitcher Michael Ortega field the bunt of Anthony Ortega, but chose to flip it home in an attempt to put out a charging Henry. The throw wasn’t in time, and Henry’s run would double the Sodbuster lead and make it 3-1.
In the next at-bat, Breyden Eckhout advanced to first on an error by Willie Lajoie. That play would also move Ortega over to third and score De Santis. Eckhout would wind up at second. That play also forced the hand of the Hub City coaching staff, and they’d go to the bullpen and bring in righty Josiah Acton.
That pitching change wouldn’t mean much, as the ‘Busters continued the hit parade.
Shawn Barrowdale would strike out for out number one, but then Anthony Dominguez and Tyler Daugherty would hit back-to-back singles. Two runs scored on Dominguez’s base hit, increasing the lead to 6-1.
That was just the start, as it seemed. The Busters would score another four runs and would leave two on base before the sixth inning ended. Heading into the top of the seventh, Hastings led 10-1 and recorded seven hits in the sixth.
These two teams are getting used to scoring in bunches on one another. Hub City racked up 15 runs in the first five innings in Tuesday’s win.
The Hotshots started the first frame of Wednesday’s game with a run as well. Ryan Kawano reached via walk in the second at-bat of the game, and would later be walked-in for a run by Kissack.
Hastings would get that run back right away, though. With runners on, Austin Elder chopped a ball to the right side of the infield and almost avoided the putout as he hustled down the line. Dominguez would score on that play, tying the game early for the Busters.
In the nightcap of the doubleheader, the sixth inning also proved to be fruitful for the Sodbusters.
Tied at one with two outs, Eckhout singled to left on a hard liner that scored Elder and loaded the bases. But, all three would be left on heading into the seventh inning.
With two outs, Anthony Guzman grounded to De Santis for a routine six-three. But, De Santis made a move for a backhanded play and committed an error, allowing the tying run to score. Daylon Owens was able to get out of the jam in the next at-bat, but that error proved very costly as the play could have preserved the lead.
The Sodbusters and Hotshots were all zeroes until Hastings broke the tie in the bottom of the third inning. Barrowdale singled to center field and scored Eckhout from second. Eckhout walked to start the inning and reached second via a wild pitch.
In the fourth, the Sodbusters were aggressive with two outs and a runner on, but nothing was to come of it. Anthony Ortega was hit by a pitch with two outs. Then, after a single by Eckhout, Ortega would be thrown out at third on a six-three-five putout.
Hub City had to deal with a tough Sodbuster crowd even late into the second game. Daniel Rodriguez sat on second with two outs and a chance to be the tying run. But, Owens, with the help of chants from spectators, struck out Colton Cox to end the side.
Owens also had himself a six-inning performance for the ‘Busters, one in which he was stellar. Owens gave up one unearned run and walked just two batters while striking out four hotshots on the night.
“He was a man possessed tonight, very intense,” Frew said. “The competitiveness was really there for him tonight. He made good pitches, he held runners really well. To have him put up a performance like that especially following Trey, that was big”
Frew also noted how it was great for his team to stay focused after the win in game one, and much of that had to do with the focus of Owens.
Hastings has just nine games left on the season, and Frew feels great about the stretch, despite six of the final nine games being on the road.
“We’re in really good shape...to keep pace with (Spearfish), we really like our odds. Our rotation is lined up really nicely,” Frew said.
HC (23-30) 200 000 0 — 1
H (25-29) 100 009 x — 10
W: Trey Kissack L: Michael Ortega
2B: H, Alec Lee.
HC (23-31) 000 001 0 — 1
H (26-29) 001 001 x — 2
W: Daylen Owens. L: Noah Solter
2B: H, Riley Gregory.