A pair of thrilling wins against a league rival and an upset of a perennial power didn't provide enough momentum in the end.
Falls City's Blue Storm Juniors' season ended last Wednesday night in Syracuse, as top-seed Hickman shutout FC, 12-0, in the championship of the Class B Area 1 district tournament.
FC mustered only two hits, each from the bat of Tyler DiGiacomo and Trenton Pentocost took the loss, despite a solid outing in which he allowed three runs on four hits over 2 2/3 innings pitched.
Hickman scored three runs in the top of the first, six in the third and posted another three-spot in the fifth. Mike Johnson, Grant Albers and Mason Bumley combined for five hits and eight RBIs for Hickman and it was Albers' three-run homer in the first that started the rout. Hickman cruised through their side of the bracket with wins over Syracuse (12-1) and Beatrice (6-4), and would have had to lose twice to FC.
FC, which finished with a runner-up finish in districts and 20 wins for the first time since 2008, upset second-seeded Beatrice 9-5 last Tuesday night. This after Beatrice shutout FC 10-0 in the second round and held the Blue Storm to just two hits.
FC won seven of their final nine games, including a pair of dramatic wins over Nebraska City at districts. The Blue Storm scored two in the bottom of the seventh last Monday night for the 2-1 walk-off victory, then manufactured one in the top of the eighth Friday to win 6-5.
FC's six-run third inning proved to be the difference in Tuesday's victory over Beatrice. Three-straight singles from DiGiacomo, Logan Scheitel and Austin Malone drove in four of the six runs after Weston Witt scored FC's first run of the game on a passed ball earlier in the inning. Malone also scored in the third when Weston's two-out fly ball to right was mishandled.
The Blue Storm added a pair of insurance runs in the fourth and one in the fifth for first-time starter Koner Hogue, who picked up the win on the mound. Hogue allowed five earned runs, forced six groundouts and seven flyouts in 6 1/3 innings.
DiGiacomo and Pentecost each finished 3-for-4 with a RBI against Beatrice, while Malone and Sawyer Kean finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
The Blue Storm Juniors finished with a record of 20-11 and were coached by Rich Witt, Kory Huppert, Dan Vice, Nick Kraft and Brooks Ivey.