ASHLAND, Neb. -- Shutdown pitching, timely hitting and clean defense over the game's final five frames helped lead Modern Real Estate Post 8 (Nebraska City) to an 11-inning, come-from-behind victory over Ashland (Platte Valley) Wednesday night at Jack Anderson Field.

The game reached a stalemate in extra innings as both teams struggled to break through. It looked like the game could on play well into the night before MRE struck for three runs on four hits in the top of the eleventh inning where it held on for a thrilling 5-2 win. 

In a 2-2 game with one out, Jesus Martinez singled which started a string of five consecutive baserunners reaching for Post 8. Cael Kreifel swatted a double off the wall in center to score Martinez from first and then catcher Tristan Kingery delivered a two-run single with the bases loaded three batters later before Ashland escaped the inning now trailing 5-2.

From there, relief pitcher Hayden Coyle pitched around a leadoff walk to get three straight outs to earn the win. 

The Bluejays scored right away in the first inning after Cody Pluta drew a leadoff walk against Post 8 started Keston Holman. Pluta stole second and advanced to third on a dropped third strike before scoring on a wild pitch. Ashland managed the run despite three strikeouts from Holman and without a ball put in play. 

Ashland would extend its lead to 2-0 after a couple of errors at shortstop allowed Dawon Thies to score after he was hit by a pitch to start the inning. 

Starter Statton Corey was cruising through the MRE lineup for Ashland, allowing just three hits while striking out seven on 78 pitches through six shutout innings. Three times Corey and catcher Max Bendler ended any chance of a Post 8 rally by picking off runners on base to end innings.

Corey and Holman continued to duel on the mound, matching strikeout for strikeout while racking up scoreless innings.

But in the top of the seventh, Corey's command eluded him. 

Martinez had a check-swing single to right and then Corey walked Colton Snyder and hit Holman to load the bases with one out. 

Pluta came on in relief of Corey from shortstop to try and earn the save. He got Kingery to fly out to shallow right, but it was just deep enough for Martinez to tag from third to make it a 2-1 game. 

Pluta struggled to find the zone from there, walking Zach Bassinger to reload the bases. Then Pluta walked first basemen Ben Chaney to tie the game at two, blowing the save and sending the game into extra innings. 

Bassinger and Chaney were 0-for-4 with four strikeouts prior to drawing the two crucial bases on balls. And after three consecutive scoreless innings, Post 8 finally broke through in the top of the eleventh to complete the comeback win. 

Post 8 head coach James Widoe said he didn't like his teams energy and its approach at the plate early Wednesday--pulling his squad aside in front of the dugout for a conversation.

"I pulled them aside and we had to have a little chat about the how the game is supposed to be played," Widoe said. "And when you wear 'Post 8' on your shirt, what that is supposed to look like."

Prior to that chat, Corey had faced just one over the minimum, but Widoe's team responded after his late-game chat between innings. 

"I was proud of them after the fact how we answered and it helps when you have power arms," Widoe said. "But I liked our answer when I challenged them to make a change."

Speaking of power arms, that's what Post 8 had in Holman and Coyle. Both dazzled, combining for 16 strikeouts, four hits and one earned run. Coyle was especially impressive, tossing 4.2 scoreless relief innings with six strikeouts. Widoe said power pitching was the key to outlasting a tough Ashland squad on the road.

"(Ashland) is such a good team, so we decided to go power and power on the mound tonight," said the Post 8 skipper. 

Widoe added he is still trying to nail down the starting rotation along with more consistent play at shortstop but pointing to four close games last week and another Wednesday, he wants his team prepared to win brawls in the postseason.

"I do not care what our record is going into districts. I don't care what seed we are going into districts," Widoe said. "I want to make sure we are battle ready and battle tested so when it does come down to crunch time in the district tournament, we're ready."

Box Score:

Post 8: 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 2, 0, 0, 0, 3 - 5, 8, 3

Ashland: 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 - 2, 4, 0