Late runs, namely a five-run sixth inning, gave Hastings a 6-1 win over the Columbus Cornerstone Insurance Seniors on Tuesday evening.
The Hastings combination of Leif Spady and Josh Brooks limited Columbus to six combined hits and no runs until the seventh when Cornerstone was facing a six-run deficit.
Columbus starter Connor Dush had been cruising through the Hastings lineup for the first five innings, only allowing one earned run before Cornerstone coach Cody Schilling suspects he ran out of gas after throwing 101 pitches.
Five hits, a hit batter, a walk and an error amounted to five Hastings runs in the sixth.
A lead-off double in the seventh by Colby Gilson followed by a single from Trey Kobza accounted for Cornerstone's only run.
Columbus left 10 runners on base while falling to 7-8 on the season.
"Connor was really good. He just got tired. He's the kind of kid when he's on the mound, he's in control. He puts everything into what he's doing," Schilling said. "We had relief warmed up and ready to go, gave up a hit. They snuck a ball through on a hit-and-run and we decided we had to make a change.
"We brought relief in, left a ball up and they tattooed it for a triple."
Dush pitched around a two-out single in the first, one-out single in the second, set Hastings down in order in the third and stranded two on in the fourth before the hosts were finally able to inflict some damage.
And that damage was limited. A leadoff single came around to score in the fifth after a sac bunt, ground out, hit batter then single to right.
He gave up a leadoff hit in the fifth, one-out single to right, two more singles then hit a batter and walked one before Tyler Wessel came on in relief.
A 2-RBI triple then run-scoring single added three more after Dush departed for the night.
He also wasn't helped by his defense in the crucial frame. The second single of the inning bounced past an outfielder and brought two runs across.
Columbus left two runners in scoring position in the first inning, stranded two in the third and two more in the seventh. The Junior Blues went just 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
"It wasn't like they just took over. We left runners on and had runners in scoring position and just couldn't come up with that hit," Schilling said. "It seemed like all our chances came with two outs.
"The score was indicative of how close the game was. I think the guys understood that, Hastings understood that and the fans understood that. It was a better game than the score indicates."
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.