Rough Riders’ playoff runs end on road
The Luna baseball and softball seasons came to a halt in the Region 9 tournaments this past week in McCook, Neb., and Trinidad, Colo., respectively.
Coach T.C. Nusser’s baseball team lost twice in a best-of-three playoff series at McCook on Friday and Saturday. Meanwhile, Coach Steve Wallace’s softball team came up short in a double-elimination bracket, falling to a pair of Nebraska schools at the neutral site in Trinidad.
A recap of the regional postseason games for the Rough Riders:
McCook baseball 6, Luna 3
Game one of the best-of-three series stayed close throughout. McCook scored a single run in the bottom of the first inning, and it was still 1-0 going into the fourth. The Riders pulled in front with three runs in the top of that frame, led by Tony Limon’s two-RBI home run. But McCook countered with three runs in their half of the inning, then added two insurance runs in the seventh. Francisco Ochoa hit 3 of 4 to lead Luna; James Cardenas and Rogelio Gonzales had two hits each. Ruger Bravo had a solid start and struck out 10, allowing four earned runs on nine hits and three walks in six and one-third innings. Ryan Clark struck out four in relief. Limon, Dusty Sipe and Brandon Zwiener were credited with a double play.
McCook baseball 10, Luna 2
Luna got on the scoreboard with a run in the first, with McCook tying in the bottom of the frame and then building the lead with back-to-back four-run innings in the second and third. Zwiener and Limon accounted for two hits apiece and four of five total hits for the Rough Riders. McCook ace Maxim Mrakovcic went six innings and limited the Riders to one earned run on five hits and three walks with eight strikeouts. For Luna, Logan Wilson, Chisum Rush and Dakota Cummings pitched two frames apiece. Sipe and Zwiener took part in two double plays each, with Ochoa and Limon also in on a double play apiece.
Luna finished 13-25 overall and 12-18 in the conference.
Northeastern softball 17, Luna 2
Both of the Rough Riders’ tourney games were held Saturday, with the first-rounder starting at 10 a.m. Northeastern, one of the regional powerhouses with records of 36-15 overall and 23-6 in the conference, built its lead and put the game away after five innings. Northeastern went on to play Trinidad State in the regional final on Tuesday, May 11.
Western Nebraska 6, Luna 3
After a scoreless first inning, Western Nebraska scored three to take the driver’s seat in the bottom of the second. But Luna didn’t go away, answering with two runs in the top of the third. It was 4-3 midway through the fifth. The Riders’ pitching and defense held Western to nine hits – one a home run by Emma Schweitzer – over six innings.
Luna finished 1-23 overall and 1-20 in the conference. Loaded with first-year student-athletes, the team will lose just two sophomores – Mary J. Martinez and Anahi Ruiz.