FARGO, N.D. — A ninth-inning rally fell short Thursday as KB Building Services (Omaha Westside) lost its opening game at the American Legion Central Plains Regional.
Chris Halbur scattered five hits and struck out nine in eight innings to lead Iowa champion Carroll County to a 4-2 win. The loss drops KB (41-12) into a losers bracket game at 10 a.m. Friday.
Trailing by three runs entering the ninth, KB tried to rally off Carroll County reliever Preston Church. Will Patterson reached first on a wild pitch after striking out and Brady Novak was hit by a pitch, putting two runners on with none out.
After Mitchell Hagan popped out, Jake Meyers doubled to left-center field to score Patterson. But with the tying runs on second and third, Church settled down to strike out Jonathan Vidlak and Drew Fitzmorris to secure the victory.
Carroll had taken the early lead, scoring twice in the second and once in the third off KB starter Mike Waldron. That advantage grew to 4-0 in the fifth as Carroll, taking advantage of five KB errors, plated its fourth unearned run of the game.
“I told our guys that we were lucky we weren't down 10-0,” KB coach Bob Greco said. “I don't think it was nerves, but we just weren't playing very well.”
KB, the Nebraska state runner-up, broke through in the seventh. Matt Waldron led off with a double and later scored on an infield throwing error.
Halbur escaped further damage in the inning by striking out Devin Stueck with the bases loaded. He also worked out of a jam in the eighth as KB stranded a runner at third.
The score remained 4-1 until KB's rally produced a run in the ninth.
“We threatened in each of the last three innings,'' Greco said. “But we couldn't get the big hits when we needed them.''
Halbur, an Iowa Western pitching recruit, also belted two doubles. The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder played in high school at Carroll Kuemper.
Mike Waldron went the distance for KB, allowing 12 hits to take the loss.
Carroll County (Iowa) ............................ 021 010 000—4 12 2
KB Building Services ............................. 000 000 101—2 6 5
W: Halbur. L: Mike Waldron. 2B: CC, Halbur 2. KB, Matt Waldron 2, Meyers.