A day after Columbus United Federal Credit Union snapped a mini two-game skid and moved back above .500 at a tournament in Kearney, the Junior Blues settled for a doubleheader split on Friday and sit 5-4 on the young season.
CUFCU started Friday with a big 13-5 win over Sioux Falls, the largest offensive output of the year then lost a 9-7 game to Millard west after leading 7-4 two and 1/2 innings into the game.
Tyson Groene starred for the Junior Blues in the opener, driving in three runs on three hits. Tadan Bell drove in three in the second game and had a double.
The pitching victory went to Ryan Eickhoff. The Junior Blues improved to 5-4 winning three of four games in Kearney.
"Our kids deserve a lot of credit. They came out, competed and bounced back from a couple losses earlier in the week and had a solid couple of days," coach Jimmy Johnson said. "They didn't let anything faze them. They competed like heck for the four games (in Kearney), and as a result, a lot of good things happened."
FRIDAY - CUFCU JUNIOR BLUES 13, SIOUX FALLS 5
A day after scoring 12 runs in a win over McCook, the Junior Blues carried that momentum over and scored five in the first inning en route to a blowout win.
Ryan Eickhoff took the win on 4 and 2/3 innings of work, 3 earned runs and four strikeouts. Tyson Groene was 3 for 3 with three runs driven in, and the starting lineup, except for one player, all had at least one hit.
FRIDAY - MILLARD WEST 9, CUFCU JUNIOR BLUES 7
Columbus produced another hot start with two runs in the first and five in the second but went scoreless the rest of the way. Millard West answered with four in the first then four again in the third and a lone run in the fifth.
Colin Flyr and Justin Gaston each had two hits while Tadan Bell drove in three runs.
"I think our guy's confidence is there. We're swinging the bats well right now, and we're hot right now and it's the type of thing where, you want to be doing that in July, too," Johnson said. "Baseball has its ups and downs. With the mentality and the approach these guys have, they're really buying into what we teach at the plate."
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com.