LAKIN — The Lakin Broncs Wednesday were seeking a shot at getting back to the state tournament for the first time in four years. In the way were the Colby Eagles, one of the teams that beat Lakin in the regular season.
And the second semifinal game of the Class 3A in Lakin went to Colby, 6-4, putting an abrupt end to an otherwise successful season for the Broncs.
The Eagles scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning to break a 4-all tie, and then they held off a late Lakin rally to get the win.
After giving up those two runs, the Broncs started their final at-bat with a Hunter Kirby walk. Two outs later, Johnney Perez took a base on his second hit-by-pitch of the game, putting the tying run on first and the winning run at the plate in Logan Gugelmeyer.
The junior took a 2-1 pitch to right field, where it landed foul by maybe a foot, and all three Broncs had to return to their respective bases.
Gugelmeyer worked the count to 3-2, before driving the ball hard to straightaway center field, but Colby had him positioned perfectly for the final out. That ended an otherwise great season for Lakin, which went 18-4.
Colby went up 1-0 in the first behind a leadoff single, a sacrifice bunt and an RBI single from eventual winning pitcher Zach Hart. The Eagles scored three more in the second to take a 4-0 lead.
The Broncs got one back in the third on an infield hit by Kirby, scoring Diego Davila, who had opened the inning by reaching on an error. They tied the score in the fourth behind four Eagles’ errors on three straight plays.
Lakin got the bases loaded after that, but left all three stranded on a third-out pop up. That would be their only scoring threats until the final inning.
The Broncs would look back to a key call against them to end the third inning. With two out, Kirby stole second and appeared safe when the throw drew the second baseman towards first base.
But Eagles coach Rick Williams questioned batter Shalberg getting in the way of his catcher, forcing the bad throw. The umpires conferred and called the third out by way of batter interference.
“We had our best hitter up. We had guys on second and third when they made that call,” Lakin coach Steve Davidson said. “I’ve never seen a call like that made. I’ve watched thousands and thousands of baseball games, and I’ve never seen interference called quite like that.”
That would be the opposing coach coming out of the dugout to question the home plate umpire, who then went to confer with someone else and then overturning his own call.
Yet, it was the way his team responded that pleased the veteran coach.
“I think it woke us up a bit,” Davidson admitted. “It got the crowd going. It got us going. We were a little tight to start the game.”
The Broncs didn’t hit the ball the way he hoped they would the next two innings, though.
“If we could have scored another run or two those innings, I feel really good about our chances,” Davidson said.
He called Gugelmeyer’s final shot “probably the hardest hit ball we’ve hit all year — but right at him.”
That seemed to summarize most of how this game went, he said. And his previous foul ball would have scored two.
“That’s baseball,” he said. “We definitely had some tough breaks. But you’ve got to make your own breaks in this game. The one thing I told them after the game is I don’t know why we didn’t score more runs.”
He thought his team should have scored more against starter Mason Wright, but didn’t.
“All season we’ve struggled with pitchers who don’t throw very hard,” Davidson said. “I don’t know what it is. It’s just a matter of staying back and watching the ball a little longer.”
Lakin left nine runners on base to Colby’s five. Colby had four errors to Lakin’s two.