Bombers drop season finale, maintain positivity

By JONATHAN SAXON
jsaxon@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG — The Dubois County Bombers believed the last stretch of regular season games would serves as an indicator of what kind of team they would be going into the postseason, and they played with a sense of urgency that netted them a three-game winstreak going into Tuesday night. Unfortunatley, the bats didn't come in with full force last night, as the Bombers dropped their regular season finale against the Henderson Flash, 5-0.

Bombers (20-18) coach Travis LaMar thought the team’s effort and the way they approached the game was in good order, but they just could not get the hits they needed when they had runners in scoring position. 

“We couldn’t find that timely hit,” he said. “Defensively we played a pretty solid game (and) the arms are starting to come together. So, I’m pleased with where we are at this point.”

Throughout the first four innings the Bombers and Flash ( struggled to make anything noteworthy happen on the field. Both teams exchanged 1-2-3 outings in the first inning and combined to leave six batters on the bags going into the fifth inning.

But then the Flash finally marched onto the scoreboard in the top of the fifth inning. With two outs first baseman Gunner Smith drew a walk to get on first, then stole second after a passed ball during Robert Sproul’s at-bat. The left fielder then clocked a single and advanced Smith to third. Next center fielder Austin Domer hit a single and drove in Smith for the 1-0 lead.

The Flash struck once again to the tune of three runs in the top of the seventh inning. Second baseman Noah Brown led off the inning with a single and eventually made his way around the base paths before getting batted in by a single from Sproul. After a strikeout from Domer shortstop Josh Johnston connected on a base hit which lead to a play at second base, but allowed designated hitter Derek Wagner to score the second run of the inning. Finally, third baseman Trevor Campbell scored a single that drove in Smith and gave the Flash a 4-0 lead.

The final score came in the top of the eighth when Wagner clobbered a solo homerun that put the Flash up 5-0 and put the period on the sentence for the game.

Bombers starter Reece Kleinhelter (0-1) pitched five innings for four hits, one run, a walk, and two strikeouts. Cal Krueger, Samuel Steimel, and Chase Rudy finished up and combined for four hits, four runs, two walks, and four strikeouts. Designated hitter Bryson McNay went 2-for-3. 

Flash starter Logan Gray (1-0) pitched five innings and finished with two hits, one walk, and five strikeouts. Garrett Simpson and Jared Hart closed it out with two hits, two walks, and two strikeouts between them. Campbell went 2-for-4 and Domer went 2-for-5 while each driving in a runner. Wagner went 1-for-3 with the homer. Johnston and Sproul each also had an RBI.

“I thought we could have swung the bats a little bit better, but we stayed in the game for the most part,” said Kleinhelter. “Our bats were a little flat tonight.”

Even though the Bombers didn’t end their season with a win they still boast a 3-1 record over their final four games and feel like they have the proper momentum going into their first playoff game against the Owensboro RiverDawgs on Friday. LaMar said he has seen the team take big steps forward in all facets of their game from making better decisions defensively to putting together better plate appearances as the season went on. He thinks the key for the team’s postseason success rests in the players having confidence in the strides they have made during the season, and he likes where everyone’s head is at as they look to move forward and play their best baseball.

“For those guys it’s continuing to trust in themselves and the work that they’ve put in,” he said. “We’re in a good spot right now in terms of the way we’re playing, mentally we’re in a good spot. The game is huge between the ears, and everyone is in a good place where they’re confident. It allows them to let their ability takeover.”

“We got a good squad. I think we’re going to make a decent run,” added  Kleinhelter. “We get the defense, pitching, and hitting all together like we can I think we’re one of the most talented teams in this league. We’re coming into this last stretch pretty hot, so if we keep riding it I think we’ll be okay.”




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