Islanders claim Heartland Athletic Conference crown

The Grand Island baseball team poses for a picture with the Heartland Athletic Conference plaque in hand after winning the title on April 13, 2018 (KHGI)

Grand Island Senior High saw Gage Rose throw a four-hitter against a very good Lincoln Southeast, helping the Islanders to an HAC championship with a 2-1 victory.

"That's six in a row, which is all relative to the weather because we had two weeks off," said head coach Joe Wells. "We are playing pretty good right now and we're starting to carry on that characteristic of what good teams do."

The conference championship is the first for the Islanders since winning it all in 2014 behind a Lane Uhing no-hitter.

Rose wasn't quite as dominant, but he certainly shined from the hill, surrendering seven hits and one earned run while striking out three for Grand Island.

Event though the game was at Ryder Park, the Islanders were considered the away team because Lincoln Southeast was the No. 1 overall seed for the tournament. The Knights got a seven inning, six hit performance from Andrew Duncan, who started off a little shaky. The Islanders got an RBI single from junior Cole Evans (2 of 3, RBI) in the top of the first to score Will Nordhues. Casey Burnham got the only other run for Senior High and it also came in the first inning.

Getting this far in the tournament didn't seem like a sure thing. After the long hiatus from baseball games because of weather cancellations, the Islanders had a tough time getting by Lincoln High in the HAC opener.

"We might not have pitched and swung the bat like we should have in the first game," Wells said.

A home run by Shay Schanaman in the fifth inning proved to be a game winner and the Islanders never looked back.

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