Imperial squad knocks off Paxton, who’s top-seeded in upcoming tourney
By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
In their final regular season game Monday night, Imperial’s Pee Wee 1 baseball team collected a 6-1 win on the road to Paxton.
It was big because Paxton is top-seeded in the Tri-County League’s end-of-season Pee Wee tournament that gets underway this week in Hershey.
Paxton comes into the single elimination tournament with just two losses at 7-2, both of them to Imperial 1.
Imperial 2, coached by Bob Milner, earned the No. 2 seed with its 7-2 record, while Imperial 1 enters with the No. 3 seed and a 6-3-1 regular season finish.
Coach Brad Moline likes what he’s seen in the progress of his Pee Wee 1 team this season. Most of its players are competing this summer for the first time at the Pee Wee level, he noted.
“The team competes. They don’t like to lose,” Moline said.
“You don’t find that every day. They are extremely coachable, too,” he said.
Moline said the team has also benefitted from the coaching assistance of Darrin Schultz of Imperial, who played baseball at the collegiate level. Schultz has been helping out with the team as time allows between his summer recreation director duties here.
The team is also being assisted by coaches Bill Christensen and Rob Lueth.
Paxton held to two hits
Paxton scored its only run of the game in its final at-bat in the sixth inning Monday night, as the Imperial 1 team held onto the 6-1 win.
Imperial, meanwhile, had scored two in the first, two in the third and two in the top of the sixth on seven hits.
Kale Gockley led the hitting for Imperial, going 2-3 at the plate with a pair of singles. Kelton Fisher doubled, and singles were recorded by Ryan Moline, Sam Haarberg, Darin Knobbe and Sergito Almanza.
Gockley went the distance on the mound for Imperial, as he faced 24 batters, striking out nine and walking six.
Paxton’s only other loss this season was to Imperial 1 in their first game of the season, when Imperial took an 8-7 win.
Imperial’s other wins this season were against Ogallala Black 11-5, Grant 11-4, Hershey 8-6 and Hershey 12-11.
Their losses have been to Imperial 2, 20-15, Ogallala Orange, 4-3, and Wallace, 17-10.
The tie on their record was with Sutherland last month, when the teams were locked at 14-14 and the game was called due to lightning. It wasn’t able to be rescheduled and finished.