Pitcher Derek McCormick winds up and throws towards home plate during the second game against Holdredge in the district championship. McCormick struck out six and only allowed one hit.
Broken Bow's Grayson Minnick spent most of the previous baseball season with a metal plate in his leg and a brace that restricted his motion. A snowboarding accident left him with a broken femur.
This season, he helped make sure he was part of the state tournament festivities.
After Broken Bow forced a deciding game in the district championship with rival Holdredge, Minnick came alive in the second and deciding game.
He totaled three hits and five RBI"s including a home run to left field as Broken Bow breezed by Holdredge 17-4 to make their second straight trip to the Class B State Tournament. Minnick had a single, triple and home run, leaving him just a double shy of hitting for the cycle.
"I was seeing the ball really well at the plate," Minnick said. "I was picking up on some of his pitches and caught some for some hits."
As far as the home run, Minnick knew it was gone as soon as it left the bat.
It was his first every home run in his legion baseball career.
"I was just jogging down the first baseline and Micah (Pomplun) was yelling and me to start running," Minnick said. "I was already smiling. I knew it was gone."
Coach Jerry Pomplun had seen consistent improvement out of Minnick at the plate all season. He knows how much Minnick missed not being able to play last season.
"He's been hitting well all year," Pomplun said. "He's making up for the year he lost."
Minnick wasn't without help. With pitchers Kirby Pomplun and Michael Coleman out of innings, the team turned to Derek McCormick, who normally plays left field, in the championship game. While he used mostly fastballs, his slider was working as the strikeout pitch.
"I noticed they were having a little trouble with it," McCormick said. "It starts in the middle, then breaks in at the hands, so it kind of tough to handle."
McCormick pitched two innings during the previous game, but didn't last very long, getting Broken Bow in a jam.
In the second game, Broken Bow built an 8-1 lead by the third inning, which allowed him to relax more and make the necessary adjustments.
"After that game, I made sure I got to the bullpen right away," McCormick said. "There was a lot of stuff with my release and my footwork was off, so I made some adjustments to that."
In the second game, he pitched a little over three innings and recorded six strikeouts while only allowing one hit.
For Pomplun, he used to seeing his team fight back from the losers bracket. Broken Bow had to come through the bottom bracket last season, beating McCook twice in the finals to advance to the state tournament.
"It means a lot," Pomplun said. "It's always good to win districts because there are some good teams in our district, but it makes it a little bit more enjoyable when you have to fight and come back. It makes it feel like you've worked harder for something."
Kirby Pomplun also had a productive day at the plate as well, he drew three walks to go with a single and two RBI's.
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