Grand Island pitcher Gage Rose made his final conference tournament with the Islanders one to remember, putting his team back on top and showing no mercy on the mound, giving him the newest spot as NTV's athlete of the week.
The conditions were brutal and the competition was tough, but that didn't stop one dedicated Grand Island pitcher from leading his team to their first conference title in four years.
After being handed their biggest loss of the season back in March, Grand Island baseball got to taste sweet revenge in their conference tournament against the same team that scored 12 runs on them when the two programs last met.
"It was awesome, this was the first year we won HAC with all these guys," Rose said. "Happening my senior year it's definitely something to remember, It's a really good feeling."
Taking on Lincoln Southeast in the Heartland Athletic Conference championship, Grand Island started their redemption early scoring two runs in the first inning. They never gave up the lead, thanks to their undefeated pitcher Gage Rose.
"That's just the way Gage has been his last three starts," head coach Joe Wells said. "You know it wasn't a unique one-time deal, Gage has been that tough all year long."
"I knew it was going to be a little more upbeat of a game," Rose stated. "I just try not to let the pressure get to me and just try to throw it in there and throw strikes."
Facing a talented batting order with the Knights, while also fighting through wet and bitter cold weather conditions, Rose held Southeast to only four hits out of nearly two dozen batters. Also recording three strikeouts.
"I played a pretty long toss before the game," Rose explained. "I went and ran a few polls before we took our inning out and kept my coat on to stay warm."
Down but not out, the Knights did manage to score one run in the top of the sixth to pull within one, but Rose came in clutch the final inning to stop them cold. Striking out their final hopes to come back, leading the Islanders to their first conference title in four years.
"It was either I was going to throw a fastball outside or I was going to throw another one to shake off the catcher and throw another hook in there and sure enough got him swinging, Rose said."
Still one of the top competitors in class "A" baseball, The Islanders rank fifth in NSAA wildcard standings at 11-3. And after winning three consecutive games in less than a 24 hour period, Rose and his teammates have high hopes for what lies ahead.