By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
The baseball season is underway, and Imperial’s Legion team had the home field for its opener Friday night against Ogallala.
Each team captured a win in the double-header at Campbell Park.
Coach Jerel Fortkamp said he was pretty happy with how the team came out and played in their first games.
“We did a good job putting the ball in play,” he noted, with Imperial racking up 20 hits in Friday night’s two games.
Except for one bad inning in each game, Imperial played pretty well on defense, as well, Fortkamp said.
The coach said that’s one area they need to work on—not letting an error snowball into more of them.
Ogallala took the opening game win, 14-6, as Imperial’s pitching struggled. Ogallala put five across in the first on just one hit, as the Ogallala batters reached base on three walks and two hit-by-pitches, with just one double.
In their first at-bat, Imperial’s first two batters struck out, but then Sam Haarberg reached base on a hit-by-pitch. He scored on a triple from Jake Lueth.
Tyler Oxford regained his control on the mound for Imperial in the second inning, as Ogallala’s top of the order went down on two fly-outs and a ground-out.
Imperial put another one across second inning on a double from Jacob Christensen, which scored Lucas Cox, who had walked. Imperial trailed 5-2.
Imperial put together a string of hits in the third to score two more, and another in the fourth, tying the game 5-5.
Ogallala was unable to score those innings, but added one in the fifth, to regain a 6-5 lead.
Each team scored a run in the sixth, but that would be it for Imperial on offense. Ogallala scored seven in the seventh to lead 14-6 as Imperial went scoreless in their half.
Imperial had nine hits in the game, led by Lueth, who tripled and had two singles.
Credited with other hits were Haarberg, two singles; Christensen, double; and singles from Ryan Moline, Curtis Laird and Destyn Milner.
Also on the mound for Imperial the last two innings was Bryson Fisher.
In the nightcap, Imperial took the win on a 14-4 score in a shortened five-inning game.
This time, it was Imperial’s turn to score early, as they racked up five first-inning runs on hits from Moline, Laird, Haarberg and Cox.
Imperial added two more in the third and four in the fourth to lead 11-0.
Ogallala was unable to score at all in the game until the top of the fifth when their four runs were scored, forcing Imperial to bat in the bottom of the fifth.
Imperial put the needed three runs across in the fifth to end the game early on the 10-run rule.
Earning hits for Imperial were Lueth, three singles; Haarberg, double and single; Cox, two singles; Laird, double; and singles from Moline, Carlos Chavez and Fisher.
Moline handled the pitching all five innings for Imperial.
Next on the schedule is a Friday night double-header in Imperial against Sidney.
A game with McCook Tuesday this week was called off.
Imperial’s Legion team roster
Sean Munger, Brad Moline