Skutt stifles Millard West offense

SkyHawk pitching holds Wildcats to only one run


Photo by Evan Vaslow

Senior Dylan Driessen delivers a pitch to a Skutt hitter in the game against the SkyHawks. Driessen totaled seven strikeouts over five innings of work while allowing only two runs, both of which were scored off wild pitches. “Each run they earned was caused by a wild pitch,” Driessen said. “So what I can take away from this game is to get into the zone sooner and settle in right away.”

Joseph Ebmeier, Staff Reporter

On Tuesday, March 29, the Millard West baseball team traveled to Skutt Catholic High School to take on the SkyHawks.

SkyHawk senior Gavin Brummund started strong on the mound for Skutt, striking out senior Drew Borner. Senior Maddux Fleck gave the Wildcats some life as he hit a single to center; however, two quick outs ended the top of the first.

Senior Dylan Driessen toed the rubber for the Wildcats in his second start of the season. The first two Skutt hitters both worked five pitch walks, putting Driessen in some trouble early. Driessen seemed to settle in as he got a groundout, and two strikeouts ended the inning and kept the SkyHawks off the board.

“I think an important part of that first inning and coming back after those first two batters was getting my fast ball lower in the zone,” Driessen said. “I think keeping them from scoring that inning was due to the two strikeouts keeping the ball out of the field and not letting the runners advance.”

The entirety of the second inning flew by as both sides went three up three down. This sent the game to the top of the third, still scoreless.

The second inning I was able to locate well and that led to a few easy outs back to me on the mound,” Driessen said. “The first pitch of the inning was an off-balance swing at a curveball and that was a big help.”

In the top of the third senior Devin Jones and junior Caleb Lanphear were both quickly retired, which turned the lineup over to Borner, who extended the inning with a single up the middle. A Fleck flyout ended the inning.

Driessen started the bottom of the third strong; on the first pitch of the inning, senior Zach Zmudsinski hit a ground ball right back at Driessen for the first out. The inning became much more difficult though when junior Joe Connolly hit a double to left field with only one out. Just a few pitches later, an infield single by senior Zac Zimmerman scored Connolly and put Zimmerman safely on first.

Driessen seemed to get rattled by the sudden SkyHawk outbreak as he walked the next batter on four consecutive pitches. He was able to rebound nicely though as he got the next batter to ground out to second, moving the runners to second and third, with two outs. This brought senior Drew Haferkamp to the plate with a chance for Skutt to add onto their slim lead. On the second pitch of the at bat, a wild pitch from Driessen scored Zimmerman and moved a runner to third. With an opportunity to drive in more, Haferkamp lined a ball right at Borner at second to end the inning

This brought the Wildcats back to the plate, now playing with a two run deficit. However, the woes continued as the Wildcats went down one, two, three yet again. With all the momentum, the SkyHawks came back to the plate. Senior Mason Kass was hit by the first pitch. Skutt was threatening to have another productive inning. Driessen was able to work around the lead off HBP though as he retired the next three batters in order.

As the Wildcats stepped to the plate in the top of the fifth inning, their opportunities to cut into Skutt’s lead were dwindling. Junior Drew Deremer and sophomore Nick Venteicher were both quickly retired. A two out single by Jones extended the inning, but Lanphear flew out to center, ending another unproductive inning for the Cats. Driessen continued to keep Millard West in the game as he sent the SkyHawks down one, two, three in the bottom half of the inning.

As Millard West came to bat in the top of the sixth, the Wildcats still trailed by two. After a groundout by Borner, and single by Fleck, Millard West had a runner on first with one out and senior Avery Moore coming to the plate. On the second pitch of Moore’s at bat, Fleck tried to put himself into scoring position but was thrown out while trying to steal second. Moore struck out swinging to end the inning.

Junior Brady Tate came on to relieve Driessen in the bottom of the six and started out strong, forcing junior MacCoy Holtam into a popout on the first pitch. A Hafenkamp groundout and a Kass double gave the SkyHawks a runner on second with two outs. This was all the action Tate would see as senior Mason Koch came out to pitch and quickly ended the inning with a strikeout.

As the Wildcats came to bat in the top of the seventh, the objective was simple: score at least two. Junior Korey Cozad started the inning the best way possible as he blasted a homerun over the left field wall to cut the deficit to just one. Two quick outs, however, put the Wildcats on their final out. Venteicher was able to extend the inning with a single up the middle, but a Jones groundout to third ultimately ended the game.

“We got a guy on with 2 outs, but we couldn’t find a way to get him in and tie the game up,” Cozad said. “We need to be tougher when we get down in counts. We also need to hunt fastballs early in counts and hit better when runners are in scoring position.”

The Wildcats dropped this game by a final score of 2-1 and could really never string together the timely hits they needed to put runs on the board. The loss brings their record to 6-2 on the season. Millard West will face off against Omaha Central at home later tonight.