Brent Beard had a pretty good day on the diamond Wednesday.
In the Columbus Cornerstone Insurance Group Seniors’ 7-2 victory, the opener of a doubleheader against Omaha North at Pawnee Park Field, Beard drove in four runs when he wasn’t set up behind home plate receiving pitches from starter Jacob Morse, who hurled a complete-game win.
For the nightcap, Beard moved 60 feet, 6 inches from behind the plate to the mound, where he was as equally efficient throwing pitches as he was hitting them earlier.
Beard went the distance in a 3-1 victory to complete a doubleheader sweep, and in doing so, was masterful, needing only 79 pitches in allowing only one run on one hit in seven innings while striking out six.
In fact, Beard’s only mistake of the evening was a two-out, two-strike solo homer in the first inning by North’s Houston Fogelstrom that gave the visitors a 1-0 lead.
However, it was all smooth sailing from there for Beard, who didn’t allow another hit after Fogelstrom’s blast had landed beyond the left-field fence.
Beard’s counterpart, North’s Michael Winn, kept Columbus' bats quiet for the first two innings, allowing only a Jared Nitz single in the second.
But after Beard had retired the side in order in the top of the third, the Columbus lineup came to life in the home half of the frame.
Zach Benne drew a one-out walk, then moved up a base on a Cole Wilcox single.
Beard then stepped in and moved both runners up to second and third on a fielder’s choice, bringing Trevor Kaslon to the plate.
Kaslon delivered with an RBI single to right, scoring Wilcox to tie the score, while both Kaslon and Beard alertly moved up a base to second and third, respectively, on the throw home.
Logan Mueller flew out to left to end the inning, but after Beard breezed through yet another easy inning on the mound, he and his teammates went back to work at the bat in the bottom of the fourth.
Nitz lined a single to left to get things started, then after Morse struck out, Jake Novicki was hit by a pitch, which brought Derek Smejkal up with men on first and second. He came through with an RBI single, plating Nitz for a 2-1 Columbus lead. Novicki then scored on a wild pitch, increasing the home side’s advantage to 3-1.
Neither club scored for the balance of the game, which was fine with Beard, who cruised through the final three innings in closing out the victory.
Nitz went 2-for-3 to lead Columbus, while Wilcox, Beard, Kaslon and Smejkal each banged out a single.
Columbus (15-19) next hosted Omaha Central for a doubleheader on Thursday at Pawnee Park Field (results not available at press time).
Scott Akanewich is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.