HASTINGS — Gabe Conant helped save the day Thursday for Hastings Five Points Bank — on the mound and at the plate.
He pitched four innings of two-hit relief and delivered the game-winning RBI single to lift the Chiefs to a 7-6, nine-inning win over Kansas champion Emporia in an elimination game.
The victory keeps Hastings (33-14) alive in the double-elimination tournament and ends the season for Emporia (34-4).
Hastings trailed 6-1 before rallying to score three in the fifth and two in the sixth. The game stayed 6-6 until Conant brought home Mason Brumbaugh with a walk-off single to right in the ninth.
“I was just trying to do what I could to score the guy from third,’’ Conant said. “We’d been hitting the ball well all game but were hitting it right at them.’’
Emporia took control by scoring five runs over the fourth and fifth innings. Hunter Groh, who earlier had an RBI triple, drove in two more with a single.
Hastings began its comeback on consecutive RBI singles by JT Cafferty, Josh Brooks and Brumbaugh. The Chiefs got it tied in the sixth on a two-run double by UNO recruit Mike Boeve.
“That was probably the ball I hit the worst and I got a double out of it,’’ Boeve said. “I just wanted to put a good swing on it.’’
Boeve had three hits and was robbed of a fourth when center fielder Cade Kohlmeier made a diving grab.
After Conant set down Emporia in the top of the ninth, Hastings won it in the bottom of the inning. Singles by Brumbaugh, Leif Spady and Jacob Shaw set up Conant’s game-winning hit.
“We’re here to stay,’’ Conant said. “We’ve got our sights set on tomorrow.’’
Hastings moves on to play another elimination game Friday at 1 p.m. at Duncan Field.
Emporia (34-3) 010 320 000 — 6 8 3
Hastings (33-14) 001 032 001 — 7 15 0
W: Conant. L: Stewart. 2B: H, Boeve. 3B: E, Groh.9).
Fremont 7, Three River Bandits 4
HASTINGS, Neb. — As the top hitter for Fremont First State Bank, Austin Callahan gets his share of headlines.
But Thursday at the American Legion Mid-South Regional, it was his twin brother, Brennan, who came up big.
He belted a go-ahead, two-run single in the seventh inning to help lift Fremont to a 7-4 win over the Three Rivers Bandits (Okla.) at Duncan Field. First State Bank (35-9) moved to 2-0 in the tourney to remain in the winners bracket.
In addition to that key hit, Brennan also pitched three hitless innings of relief to pick up the victory.
“I’m the Callahan to watch out for,’’ Brennan said. “That’s what I tell my brother.’’
Fremont was able to rally by showing patience at the plate in the final inning. The team took advantage of four walks, including one to Mitchell Glause with the bases loaded that tied the game.
Brennan Callahan followed with his two-run single to left before a wild pitch brought in Fremont’s final run.
“The kids were doing what we told them in that last inning,’’ Fremont coach Jeff Hayden said. “We scrapped to get runners because you can’t come from behind without getting guys on base.’’
Oklahoma had grabbed a 4-1 advantage by scoring three runs in the third. It put Fremont in the hole for one of the few times this postseason.
“It reminded me of the win we had against Hastings at the state tournament,’’ Hayden said. “You need wins like that to handle situations like the one we had today.’’
In that victory over Hastings, Fremont scored a run in the seventh to tie it and another in the eighth to win it.
Against the Oklahoma state champion, Fremont had two outs and one runner on base in the seventh. An intentional walk to Austin Callahan and a walk to Dillon Dix loaded the bases.
The Bandits then turned to reliever Hagen Earls to close out the win, but he couldn’t do it. Glause walked on a close 3-2 pitch before Brennan Callahan’s two-run single.
“Mitchell probably has the best plate discipline of anybody on our team,’’ Hayden said. “He knew that last pitch was out of the zone and trusted the ump to make the call.’’
The coach added that he likes his team’s chances the rest of the way.
“Right now we’re hot,’’ he said. “And it’s tough to cool off a team when it gets like that.”
Fremont (35-9) 010 020 4 — 7 3 3
Oklahoma (28-7) 103 000 0 — 4 5 3
W: B. Callahan. L: Burchfield. O, Lasater.