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Local Sports 5-22-2015

Hastings High has a new head football coach. Charlie Shoemaker will take over for Eric Emerson, who stepped down earlier this week. Shoemaker has been at Grand Island Central Catholic for the past six seasons guiding the Crusaders to a 37-23 record. He has also coached at Central City at Silver Lake.

Michigan State erupted for six runs in the eighth inning to beat Nebraska 9-7 yesterday in the elimination game of the Big Ten Tournament in Minneapolis. Nebraska had been 28-1 this year when leading after seven innings. Ryan Krill of Michigan State sparked the rally with a grand slam. Nebraska ends the season 34-23.

In the other games, Indiana eliminated Ohio State with a 5-3 win, Michigan downed Iowa 8-5 and Maryland got by Illinois 2-1. That breaks the Fighting Illini's 27 game winning streak. So today, Iowa will play Indiana at 3:30pm followed by Illinois against Michigan State at 7:30pm.

Nebraska has added a second quarterback to its Class of 2016. Six-foot-four, 225 pound Patrick O'Brien of San Juan, California gave his commitment to the Huskers yesterday. He'll join Terry Wilson of Del City, Oklahoma, who committed earlier this month.

Matt Waldron threw a no hitter yesterday to lead Omaha Westside to a 1-0 win over Millard South in the Class A State baseball tournament. Waldron struck out 12. Lincoln Pius won the Class B crown with a 6-3 win over Norris.

Omaha Marian and Papillion La-Vista are tied for the lead in Class A with 36 points after the first day of the State Tennis Tournament in Omaha. Kearney is fourth with 30 points. Grand Island is 12th with 10. Elkhorn South leads Class B with 36 points. Grand Island Central Catholic is third with 28 points, Kearney Catholic is tied for fourth with 22, Adams Central is tied for 11th with 14 and Hastings High is 15th with 10 points. Josie Propp of Hastings High has advanced to the semi-finals. Grand Island Central Catholic has three players in the semi-finals, Kearney Catholic has two and Kearney High has two. The semi-finals get underway at 9:00am. Championship and consolation matches are slated for 1:00pm.

The State High School Track and Field Championships get underway today at Burke Stadium in Omaha. Competition in Classes A and C will get underway at 9:00am this morning. Classes B and D will compete starting at 3:30pm. We'll have reports throughout the day on 1230AM KHAS, Classic Hits 98.9FM KKPR, ESPN 1460 KXPN and ESPN 1550 KICS.

The Nebraska Danger will play the Colorado Ice tomorrow night at the Heartland Events Center in Grand Island. The Danger will be looking to rebound after dropping a 53-40 decision to the Sioux Falls Storm last week. Kickoff is slated for 7:00pm.

Huskers Eliminated from Big Ten Tournament

The No. 8 seed Nebraska baseball team (34-23) had a 7-3 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning on Thursday afternoon at Target Field, but the No. 5 seed Michigan State Spartans (34-22) exploded for six runs in the frame on its way to a 9-7 victory that eliminated the Huskers from the Big Ten Tournament.

The Huskers entered the game 28-1 on the year when leading after seven innings, but were unable improve to 29-1. Reliever Ben Miller took the mound in the eighth and gave up a walk to Brandon Hughes to start the frame. The bases were quickly loaded following singles by Chad Roskelly and Anthony Checky. Dan Durkin stepped in and Miller issued a four-pitch walk to plated a run. NU went to senior Josh Roeder and NU's all-time saves leader came into a jam, the bases loaded and no out. With the tying runs on base and the top of MSU's order coming to the plate, Roeder plated a run with just his third walk of the season before Ryan Krill delivered a grand slam that put the Spartans ahead, 9-7, it was Krill's 13th homerun of the season.

MSU reliever Joe Mockbee worked the final 3.2 innings for the Spartans, including a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his sixth win of the season.

The loss ended the careers of seven Husker seniors, including Kyle Kubat, Chance Sinclair, Christian Cox, Austin Darby, Blake Headley, Tanner Lubach and Roeder. Kubat, who was winless in his past eight starts entering Thursday, left the game in line for the win with a 6-3 lead. Kubat was looking to become the 11thpitcher in school history to reach 20 career wins, but it wasn't meant to be. In his 43rd career start, the fifth most in NU history, Kubat went 5.0 innings and allowed three runs on eight hits, while striking out three.

MSU starter Jeff Kinley lasted 4.1 innings in his fifth start of the season. The one-time closer for the Spartans this year allowed five runs on six this and two walks, but did notch six strikeouts.

Kubat retired the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the first before he hit Mark Weist. The HBP came back hurt on the very next pitch of the game, as Blaise Slater launched a two-run homer into the third deck in left field. Former Husker Ryan Richardson then ripped a single before Kubat got a pop out to end the inning.

Down 2-0, the Huskers cut MSU's lead in half in the top of the second on two hits. Scott Schreiber started the inning with his fourth hit of the tournament and was soon in scoring position on a groundout by Headley. Miller then came through with a single that put runners on the corners and Jake Placzek drove in Schreiber with a sacrifice fly to left field. Darby worked a walk with two outs and Jake Meyers nearly came through with a two-out RBI, but Checky made a running catch in the left-field gap to end the frame.

The Spartans had their next scoring opportunity in the fourth when they had a runner on second with two outs after Checky was hit-by-pitch. Facing MSU's No. 9 hitter, Kory Young, Kubat got an inning-ending ground ball to Headley at third, keeping MSU's lead to 2-1.

After Kubat got out of the jam, NU's offense went to work in the top of the fifth with five runs on five hits and two walks. Placzek got the inning started with a single and after Darby struck out, got himself in scoring position by stealing second base. Meyers then worked a walked and Luis Alvarado singled to load the bases for Jake Schleppenbach. The Lincoln native lined the first pitch he saw into right field for a game-tying RBI single. MSU went to lefty reliever Anthony Misiewicz to face Lubach and the junior walked in a run to put the Huskers ahead 3-2. The Spartans again made a call to the pen and right hander Walter Borkovich got Schreiber to foul out. With two out and the bases still loaded, Headley worked a full count before driving a two-RBI single into left field. Miller, the ninth batter of the inning, followed with a RBI single to push NU's lead to 6-2. Placzek stepped in for his second at-bat of the inning with two runners in scoring position and Borkovich put an end to the bleeding with a strikeout.

Working with the lead for the first time all day, Kubat faced the top of MSU's lineup in the bottom of the fifth. He retired the first two batters before giving up a single to Weist and then he hit Salter. Kubat dug in and got a 1-3 groundout from Richardson to keep NU's four-run lead intact.

Kubat took the mound in the sixth but wouldn't record an out, as he was replaced by Jeff Chesnut after giving up consecutive singles to start the inning. With runners on the corners, Chesnut got a 5-3 groundout of the bat of Checky, but the grounder was slow enough to score Hughes on the play. MSU went to pinch hitter, Durkin, who lined an infield single off of Chesnut to again put runners on the corners. With the top of the order up and one down, Cam Gibson came to the plate as the tying run. Gibson got a 3-1 hitters count, but Chesnut made the pitch he needed and got a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning with the Huskers ahead 6-3.

The Husker offense got the run back in the seventh with one hit and a pair of sacrifices. Schreiber led off the frame with his sixth hit of the tournament and with Headley up Schreiber took second on a wild pitch Mockbee. Headley then laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved Schreiber to third and Miller drove him in with a sacrifice fly to deep right field that gave NU a 7-3 lead.

Colton Howell took the mound for NU in the eighth and gave up a one-out walk, but nothing else, and struck out Richardson to keep the Husker lead a 7-3 through seven.

With three runs on eight hits through the first seven innings, the Spartans scored six runs in the eighth on four hits and three walks to retake the lead for good.

Nebraska Danger take on rival Colorado Ice Saturday

The Nebraska Danger are set to take on their Intense Conference rivals, the Colorado Ice, on Saturday night in Grand Island. The Ice come to Nebraska after falling to the Tri-Cities Fever 52-36 last week at home. Kickoff is slated for 7 PM at the Heartland Events Center.

The Danger are looking to get back to championship form after falling to the Sioux Falls Storm last week 53-40. The Storm, known for not making many mistakes, didn't have a single turnover in the game. The Danger were also able to play a clean game, but a pair of first half Danger drives didn't result in points which gave the Storm an opportunity to grab a 13-point halftime lead that the Danger couldn't overcome after the break.

"We have been able to make some big second-half comebacks this season, but you can't give a team that doesn't make mistakes a two score lead," Danger coach Mike Davis said. "We need to take the loss and learn from it and then use it as motivation this week against Colorado."

Colorado played right with Tri-Cities for most of the contest last Saturday. The two teams were tied at 36 with less than 9 minutes to go in the game, but a late rally by the Fever was able to propel Tri-Cities to the victory.

The Colorado squad that will visit Grand Island this week is very different from last season. 2014 IFL MVP Willie Copeland was the quarterback for Colorado all of last year, but he is now leading the Cedar Rapids Titans. One familiar face still with the Ice is wide receiver and University of Nebraska – Kearney product, Kyle Kaiser. Kaiser led the Ice receiving corps with 3 receptions for 72 yards and 1 touchdown against the Fever.

"Colorado has a lot of new faces this year, but Heron O'Neal is a great coach and he will have them ready for us," Davis said.

Kickoff is set for 7 pm on Saturday night at the Heartland Events Center. Doors open at 6:00 with pre-game activities beginning at 6:30.

Tickets for Saturday night are available at area Pump & Pantry stores, the Heartland Events Center Box Office, or via Ticketmaster. The American Red Cross will have a Blood Drive on Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm. Every donor will receive a ticket voucher for the game that night. Theme for the night is Military Appreciation Night. Concession Specials: $1 Hot Dogs, $1 Draws, & $2 Tall Boys!

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