Millard West can’t keep up with Millard South

Multiple Patriot home runs boost them past Wildcats


Photo by Evan Vaslow

Senior Dylan Driessen delivers a pitch in the game against Millard South. Driessen worked through three innings on the mound, giving up eight earned runs, and striking out seven. Although the Wildcats could not come out with a win they will hope to put this loss behind them as they look to bounce back in the Metro Tournament. “Going into Metros we have to just forget about this game,” Driessen said. “We just need to focus on doing what we can to win games.”

Joseph Ebmeier, Staff Reporter

Coming off a tough, high-scoring 9-7 loss to Burke, the Millard West varsity baseball team looked to bounce back against rival Millard South Tuesday night.

The Patriots put the ball in the hands of junior Conlin Grady as he started the game on the mound. Senior Drew Borner got the Cats going early as he led off the game with a single to right field; however, three straight outs ended the top of the first.

Senior Dylan Driessen started the game on the bump for Millard West. Things started out rough for the Wildcats as senior Braden Cannon led off the game with a walk and was moved up to second off of a sacrifice bunt. Driessen was able to close out the inning nicely though, and the game went to the second scoreless.

In the top of the second, Millard West was once again able to get their lead off hitter on base; this time it was sophomore Nick Venteicher who drew a walk. Similarly to the first inning however, the Wildcats were not able to get anything else going and went down one, two, three after the lead off runner.

The bottom of the second saw the Wildcat defense break down. Senior Braden Sweet led off the inning with an infield single, and with an overthrow by Venteicher, Sweet advanced all the way to third. Driessen then issued a walk to junior Grant Renken, bringing sophomore J.D. Moffett to the plate. During the at-bat, a passed ball allowed Sweet to score from third before Moffett struck out. Driessen was also able to strikeout senior Ashton Jorges, so the Cats needed just one more out to get out of the inning. However, it would not be so simple as Cannon laced a three run home run over the left field wall to put the Patriots up 4-0. Driessen struck out junior Max Heard to end the inning, but the damage was done.

“In the first inning I did a much better job of getting ahead in the count,” Driessen said. “Getting ahead in the count would have kept me out of situations where they knew a fastball was coming and allowed me to use off-speed to throw off their timing better.”

Millard West couldn’t get any offense going in the top of the third, turning things back over to the Patriots. Kozeal led off the inning with a quick single to right field. Senior Brayden Smith then launched a home run of his own, extending Millard South’s lead to 6-0. Driessen was able to finish out the inning without allowing any more, sending the game to the fourth with the Cats down six.

The fourth inning started out with back to back singles by Cozad and Avery Moore. Millard West brought in junior Brady Brau to pinch run for Cozad; he and Moore each advanced a base on a passed ball, giving the Wildcats runners on second and third with no outs. A Venteicher sac fly to right field scored Brau and gave the Wildcats their first run of the game. They quickly got their second as junior Drew Deremer singled, making the score 6-2. Although the Cats threatened to get a couple more in the inning, they came up empty as the game headed to the bottom of the fourth.

Millard South came to bat in the bottom of the fourth having seen their lead cut down to four runs. A combination of well timed hits and a couple errors by the Wildcats in the field allowed the Patriots to score two runs before the Wildcats could gather a single out. Driessen was then replaced on the mound by senior Tyler Sprietzer who allowed one more run before collecting three outs.

“I think this year our team has been very good defensively for the most part, so yesterday’s game to me was just a fluke,” Driessen said. “We should learn what we can but ultimately forget about it and move on.”

The Wildcats stepped to the plate in the top of the fifth, down 9-2, with the Patriots bringing senior Logan Anderson to take over on the mound. Fleck led off the inning with a long at bat that ultimately ended in a strikeout. Cozad was then hit by a pitch bringing up Avery Moore, who blasted a two run home run of his own, making the score 9-4. The Cats were not able to get anything else in the fifth, and after a quick inning by Sprietzer on the mound, the game was going to the sixth.

Senior AJ Tauber led off the top of the sixth for Millard West as they looked to make up five runs. Tauber hit a single to left and worked himself around the bases to score, making it a 9-5 game. Millard West could not get anything else in the inning, turning it back over to Millard South.

Spritzer worked another quick inning on the mound as he sent the Patriots down one, two, three, bringing Millard West to bat in the top of the seventh needing four runs to tie. Millard South opted to bring Cannon in on the mound and it worked out well as he sent the Cats down in order to close out the game.

Millard West has now dropped two in a row, this one by a final score of 9-5. They will look to rebound in the Metro Conference Tournament.