A breakdown of the Class A and Class B state baseball tournament’s opening rounds.
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Geoff Birkemeier of Papillion-La Vista pitched eight innings and allowed no earned runs while striking out four in an extra-inning win over Millard West. Papio South sophomore Grant Suponchick limited Lincoln Southwest to five hits, faced the minimum three batters in four innings and had an RBI double in the first inning in the Titans’ 3-2 win.
After trailing 3-0 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, Millard South scored four times for a 4-3 victory over Omaha Burke.
THEY SAID IT
“We expected to be here the whole time. Once we got here, we revised our goals. We weren’t overwhelmed. I thought we competed well.” — Omaha North coach Mike Greene-Walsh on the Vikings’ first game at state since 1964.
>> Saturday’s attendance: 2,412
WINNER’S BRACKET MATCHUPS
Monday at Werner Park
>> Papillion-La Vista South (21-2) vs. Millard South (14-6), 4 p.m.: Both teams earned hard-fought, one-run wins in their first-round games. Papio South relied on solid pitching, solid defense and one big inning of offense. Millard South used three pitchers, had a little shakier defense and one big inning of offense. The Titans will be favored, but anyone who counts out the Patriots until the final out has been secured simply isn’t paying attention.
>> Omaha Westside (22-5) vs. Papillion-La Vista (13-9), 7 p.m.: After losing five of seven before districts, the Monarchs have gotten stellar pitching, including during Saturday’s 4-2 comeback win over Millard West in the first round. Two of those losses before districts were to Westside, which used a six-run fourth inning to down Omaha North on Saturday.
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Both of Norris’ Nebraska recruits came up big in a 2-1, 12-inning victory over Waverly. Pitcher Byron Hood didn’t factor in the decision Saturday, but threw 143 pitches over eight innings and struck out 13 batters before driving in Jakson Reetz with the winning run in the 12th. Reetz started the game at catcher, but allowed just one hit in four innings of relief and reached base five times.
Omaha Skutt trailed 7-0 and had yet to record a hit through five innings against Wahoo/Raymond Central/Lincoln Lutheran pitcher Brook Stuart. But the SkyHawks scored eight runs in their final three at-bats to come back for an 8-7 win.
THEY SAID IT
“I don’t know if we were really thinking we were going to come back. We just didn’t want to get no-hit.” — Skutt coach Shawn Exner on his SkyHawks coming back from a 7-0 deficit after not getting a hit through the first five innings.
WINNERS BRACKET MATCHUPS
Monday at Haymarket Park
>> Norris (22-1) vs. Omaha Skutt (15-6), 4 p.m.: Norris gave significant innings Saturday to ace Byron Hood and closer Jakson Reetz, so the top-seeded Titans likely will pitch Payton Kinney (6-0, 0.37 ERA) against Skutt. The SkyHawks could counter with Jacob Barton (6-1, 0.93) who picked up the win in relief Saturday.
>> Lincoln Pius X (16-1) vs. Omaha Gross (10-7), 7 p.m.: Sixth-seeded Gross was the surprise winner Saturday, but the Cougars will have to dip into their pitching depth Monday after Cragin Missak threw a complete game. Pius X, the defending Class B champion, has plenty of arms to throw Monday. Senior Alex Schleppenbach (2-0, 2.08) or sophomore Nolan Hakel (2-0, 1.75) could get the start.
— Steve Beideck, Gene Schinzel and Jeff Sheldon