The Columbus United Federal Credit Union Junior Blues controlled the opener of their doubleheader against Gretna on Tuesday, but were unable to carry the momentum over to the nightcap, splitting the pair.
After prevailing in the first game by a score of 14-5, the Blues dropped the second contest, 4-3.
In the first game, the Blues used a strong first inning to their advantage. After a Landon Thompson single, Kaden Young stepped up to the plate with runners on first and second and one out and singled on a line drive to right field that scored a run, giving Columbus a 1-0 advantage.
Later that inning, Trey Kobza hit a hard ground ball scoring another run. Columbus scored two more runs that inning, thanks to a walk and a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 4-0.
Gretna secured one run of their own on a sacrifice fly in the first inning to close the gap to 4-1.
The Blues kept the pressure on Gretna in the second inning.
Colin Flyrdrew a walk, then CJ Fleeman smashed a ball to right field that was good enough for a double. Flyr scored on a groundout by Young and Fleeman scored on a single by Connor Dush to give Columbus a 6-1 lead.
Neither team got on the scoreboard again until the bottom of the third when Gretna attempted to rally.
Lou Carnazzo and Ty Perkins of Gretna both hit doubles at the beginning of the inning, resulting in a run.
Starting pitcher Kaden Young then stepped up and recorded two clutch strikeouts with the bases loaded, but then proceeded to walk Jared Quade forcing home a run for Gretna. An error then cost Columbus two runs and the game was almost even with the Blues holding onto a slight 6-5 lead.
The Blues looked to be in trouble in the fourth inning after two quick outs. Trey Kobza was up to bat with runners on first and second and hit a line drive to center field that scored one run.
Hunter Folopolos was pitching for Gretna at this point and walked three consecutive batters. which scored two runs for Lakeview.
Fleeman and Flyr then hit singles back-to-back to extend the Blues lead to 12-5.
Following the fourth inning, both squads played staunch defense until the top of the sixth, when the Blues found their way back on the scoreboard.
Nelson led off the inning and singled on a ground ball. A few batters later Fleeman, was up to bat with one out and runners on first and second and singled on a line drive scoring Nelson.
Columbus scored one more in the sixth when Faust scored on a groundout by Young to give the Blues a 14-5 lead that Gretna was never able to overcome.
Fleeman led Columbus, going 3-for-5, including a double, drove home two RBIs and scored once.
Gretna 4, Columbus Blues 3
The second game was not as successful as the first for Columbus as they lost 4-3.
In the top of third the Blues were down 1-0, when Thompson stepped up to the plate with runners on second and third and took the lead with one swing when he doubled to right, scoring both Tanner Kobza and Fleeman.
Later in the inning, Trey Kobza hit a sacrifice fly that scored one run giving Columbus a 3-1 lead.
But the Blues couldn’t score the rest of the game and after Gretna scored in the bottom of the fourth to take a 4-3 lead they coasted to a victory.
Head coach Jimmy Johnson said he was happy with his team’s performance.
“I thought we swung the bats really confidently and aggressively in both games really,” Johnson said. “The first game we were able to take advantage of some free bases when we were ahead in counts.”
With only two games left in the regular season, Johnson seemed excited about how his team has done offensively done the stretch.
“Is really encouraging,” Johnson said. “Sometimes it can come down to whose bats are hot at the right time, especially when you get to the district championships if we make it there.”
The Blues’ (25-7) next games are on the road against Omaha Burke in a doubleheader at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for the Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org