After being held in check for five innings, the WESTCO Express broke through with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to rally for a 4-2 win over Chadron in junior legion baseball action on Thursday evening at Cleveland Field in Scottsbluff.
While the Express offense struggled, Traceten Halley struck out 15 and allowed just two hits to keep WESTCO in the game.
“Our pitchers are throwing really well for us and are keeping us in the game,” Express coach Jeremy Behnke said. “There wasn’t one time when the boys came into the dugout frustrated or upset. They just continued to stay positive. I have to credit their perseverance and desire to want to pull one out. It was good to see them come together and do that.”
Chadron starting hurler Colby Ellis proved just as tough to hit through most of his time on the mound. The southpaw kept the Express hitters off balance, especially with a slow, hard-breaking curveball.
“He did a good job of keeping us off balance. He kept us guessing,” Behnke said of Ellis. “The boys had a hard time sitting back and picking up the curveball. The great thing is they stuck with it.”
Chadron went in front 2-0 with a pair of runs in the top of the third inning. Jackson Dickerson singled and scored on a single by Jake Bargen for one of the runs.
The Express finally got the offense chugging in the home half of the sixth. Eric Olsen’s two-run single tied the contest at 2-2. Trevor Garcia scored the go-ahead run before Brad Divan’s sacrifice fly plated Matt Mickey with the fourth run.
Olsen went 3-for-3 in the contest for the Express with two runs batted in and a double. Tristan Donelson finished with two stolen bases.
Dickerson also stole a pair of bases for Chadron.
Ellis took the loss on the mound. He allowed three runs on six hits, walked three and struck out three in five innings.
The Express, now 3-1 on the season, will return to action with three games in Rapid City, S.D., this weekend.
Chadron ............... 002 000 0 — 2 2 0
Express (3-1) ................. 000 004 x — 4 8 2
WP — Traceten Halley (1-0). LP — Colby Ellis.
2B — Eric Olsen, Brad Divan.