Thursday’s Class 3A Columbia Regional semifinal game looked as if it may be over before it even started. Bouts of unpredicted rain made their way through downtown Columbia delaying the game’s start by 20 minutes.
But Waterloo got right down to business once the rain slowed down, but played through bursts of sprinkles throughout the evening. Waterloo’s Austin Nunnery took the mound, allowing zero runs in the top of the first by the Freeburg Midgets. WHS put themselves on the board immediately, facing FHS’ Milton Pinkston. Waterloo’s No. 2 and 3 holes got it started for the ‘Dogs, with singles by Alex Wittenauer and Zach Schaab to put Bulldogs on base. Next up, junior Reed Hoffmann put Waterloo on the board with an RBI double. Waterloo took an early, 2-0, lead after the first inning.Waterloo’s Austin Nunnery came away with a regional semifinal win on Thursday with eight K’s.
The RBIs didn’t end there for Waterloo, Wittenauer batted one in in the second after two singles and an Ethan Ruff bunt that put runners in scoring position. WHS remained on top, 3-0, at the end of inning No. 2.
In the top of the third, things began to unravel a bit for Waterloo on defense. Jeremy Rettig charted an error in right field when he was unable to knock down a Midget hit that turned a FHS single into a triple on two outs. Freeburg capitalized on their opportunity and batted one in on a single down the third base line. But that was all the Midgets would get for that inning and the entire game.
Waterloo had a bit of a scare on defense in the following inning as well, with a missed scoop in left center resulting in a Freeburg double and bad communication on a pop up behind second base with no one coming up with the catch. But, once again, Nunnery would come through and end the inning for the Bulldogs.
In the fifth inning of the regional semifinal contest, Waterloo would exploit the Freeburg defense, scoring two more runs to seal the deal.
Bulldogs win, 6-1, to advance to Saturday’s Columbia Regional Finals against Mascoutah at 11 a.m.
Friday, the Waterloo Bulldogs softball team takes on the Columbia Eagles for the Columbia Regional Finals at 4:30 p.m.