World-Herald staff writer Mike Patterson breaks down Thursday’s top individuals, notable quotes and more.
* * *
Taylor Elman tossed a five-hitter as Omaha Creighton Prep stayed alive with a 14-4 win over Lincoln Northeast.
Jeff Albrecht then turned in an impressive 11-strikeout performance to lead the Junior Jays to a 12-2 win over the Rockets, securing Prep’s state title.
THEY SAID IT
“It was our day.’’ — Prep coach Pat Mooney after watching his team post consecutive 10-run wins against Northeast to capture the school’s ninth championship.
>> Schroer’s day: Lincoln Northeast’s Jordan Schroer had a nice game at the plate in the first game against Prep, but was frustrated in the second game. He had a single, triple and a two-run homer in the early game. He missed out on a chance to get a double for the cycle when the Junior Jays ended the game in the sixth because of the 10-run mercy rule. But in the late game, Schroer went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts. He came up in the third inning with the bases loaded and nobody out but fanned against Junior Jays starter Jeff Albrecht.
>> That smarts: Northeast pitchers hit five Prep batters in the early game Thursday. Taking one for the team were Jon Hechtner, Kevin Connolly, Taylor Elman, Alex Allbery and Cale Dineen.
>> Forget that: Since they won the title, the Junior Jays don’t care that they made three errors in the second inning of the first game. Jesse Rall reached on the first error and then moved to second on a walk. Rall then scored after consecutive throwing errors. Nothing hurt in the long run for the Junior Jays, who didn’t make a miscue the rest of the game.
* * *
>> Lincoln Pius X center fielder Chris Bodfield made the play of the game in the final, making a diving catch of a sixth-inning drive that prevented Norris from scoring the tying run.
>> Thunderbolts pitcher Dan LeDuc came on in relief and shut down the Titans in the final two innings to get the save. He had pitched a no-hitter three nights earlier against Omaha Skutt.
THEY SAID IT
“That catch was game saving. Game changing.’’ — Pius coach Troy Charf, talking about Bodfield’s grab.
>> Messy interview: Thunderbolts coach Troy Charf was interrupted during his postgame interview with reporters when someone from his squad smashed a shaving cream-laden towel into his face. “I guess I deserve that,’’ he said. “That’s the price you pay for success.’’
>> Different games: Norris saw both extremes in its two state tourney games Thursday. Against South Sioux City in the early game, the Titans hit the ball all over Haymarket Park in a 14-5 victory. But against Pius in the title game, Norris managed just one run on four hits.
>> Back again?: Both Pius and Norris have reason for optimism next season. The Thunderbolts have just five seniors on their roster and the Titans have only three. “We told our younger kids to get used to this state tournament atmosphere,’’ Norris coach Jason Cullison said. “We hope to be back here in the future.’’