In a tournament that featured plenty of wild finishes it was only fitting that the Class B Legion Baseball State Championship game featured plenty of crazy turns and would up a thriller, with Bennington downing Alliance 9-8.
Alliance and head coach, Carlos Palomo, won their first four games of the tournament before losing back to back games to Bennington and coming up short of the title.
After dropping their first game of the tournament on Saturday, Bennington was able to rally back and win six straight do or die games to eventually hoist the trophy.
With the Alliance fans packing Oregon Trail Park Stadium the atmosphere was tremendous yesterday.
With the score tied 8-8 in the top of the seventh inning it was Bennington looking primed for a possible big inning with the first two men reaching on a single and a hit by pitch. Then a big pitch by Alliance pitcher Collin Schrawyer, who induced a 4-6-3 double play and it looked like the Spartans might be able to wiggle out of the inning.
The next batter, Nick Bohn, then wrapped a ball out to shortstop that was misplayed and the go-ahead run scored on the play.
Alliance went quietly in order in the bottom half of the seventh inning and the celebration was on for Bennington and head coach Jamie Schleifer.
Bennington struck first with a run in the first inning and then Alliane was able to tie things up with one of their own in the bottom of the second.
In the top of third inning Bennington got a pair of runs as Cooper Prososki doubled one home and then Anthony Comfort singled in a run as Bennington went in front 3-1.
Still 3-1 in the top of the fourth and Bennington was able to get two more runs and in the process they knocked Alliance starting pitcher Trevor Dubray out the game. Dubray, who was excellent in the first game of the tournament for Alliance, labored just a bit in this one. He was lifted having thrown 79 pitches in three plus innings of work.
These five day, double elimination tournaments are tough on pitchings staffs and from the fourth inning on that fact was pretty apparent for both teams. Coach Palomo agreed with that sentiment after the game.
Bennington started to show some cracks on the mound in the bottom of the fourth inning as Alliance scored five runs on just one base hit. Runs came across to score on a double, hit by pitch, walk, walk, and a passed ball.
The back and forth affair continued into the fifth inning as Bennington scored three runs with two outs.
Alliance would tie the game up in the bottom of the sixth inning on a Caeson Clarke RBI single and then a passed ball that allowed J.J. Garza to score. All of that leading to the seventh inning when Bennington was able to prevail.
In defeat Palomo with a nod to the Alliance faithful that showed up in droves to the suppor the Spartans.
A total of 15 games over five days with the tournament coming to a close. Oregon Trail Park Stadium got rave reviews from coaches and players as a host venue and kudos to the Gering Legion Baseball committee and tournament director Mike Hutchison for putting on a very organized tournament.
Bennington your 2019 Class B Legion Baseball State champions.