Millard West takes on Metro tournament

Wildcats fall short of championship game


Photo by Evan Vaslow

Senior Dylan Driessen steps up to the plate in the first round game against Omaha North. Driessen totaled three hits in three at bats as well as four RBI’s. “We were able to put the ball in play, limiting strikeouts and giving us a good shot to get on base,” Driessen said. “We just need to continue to get better and learn from the few mistakes that we made in the Elkhorn South game.”

Joseph Ebmeier, Staff Reporter

Following back to back tough losses to Burke and Millard South, the Millard West baseball team came into the Metro Tournament hoping to get things going back in the right direction.

The Wildcats were the top seeded team entering the tournament, which meant they would face the winner of Omaha Bryan and Omaha North. North took down Bryan in a 17-0 landslide, meaning the top seeded Wildcats would take on the 17th seeded Vikings.

Although Omaha North scored a quick run in the top of the first, the game was dominated by the Wildcats in all aspects. In the bottom of the first inning, Millard West nearly batted around the lineup twice as they scored 10 runs including a two-RBI double by senior Dylan Driessen. After a quick top of the second from junior Ben David, the Wildcats came to bat in the bottom of the second.

The bottom of the second saw a repeat performance from the Wildcats, this time they totaled 12 runs, two of which coming off a triple by junior Trevor Unger. After another scoreless top half from the Vikings, the Wildcats added three in the bottom of the third to make the score 25-1. Each team added one more run in the fourth before a scoreless top of the fifth from Omaha North ended the game due to run rule. The Wildcats cruised to a 26-2 victory, advancing to the second round.

In the second round, the Wildcats were set to face off against Omaha Westside in the teams’ first matchup this season. The Wildcats opted for junior Drew Deremer to start the game on the bump, and he got into some early trouble as a leadoff double followed by a single to the outfield gave the Warriors an early 1-0 lead. Westside would add one more in the top of the first, sending the game to the bottom of the inning with the Cats down 2-0. The Wildcats would take the lead in the bottom of the inning as they put up three runs. However, Westside bounced back and put up three runs of their own in the top of the second, making the score 5-3. In the bottom of the fourth an RBI triple by Avery Moore followed by an RBI groundout by sophomore Nick Venteicher tied the game 5-5.

Another scoreless top half of the inning switched things over to the bottom of the fourth where an RBI single off the bat of senior Drew Borner gave the Wildcats a 6-5 lead. Westside was able to regain the lead, as in the top of the fifth, they put up two runs to make the score 7-6. Their lead would also not last long as in the bottom of the inning Millard West put up three runs, including senior Avery Moore’s second RBI triple of the game. In the top of the sixth, Westside would score one to trim the gap to 9-8, and after a scoreless bottom of the inning, the game went to the top of the seventh with the Cats up one. Senior Mason Koch got the call to close out the game on the mound and the Warriors could not get anything going. Millard West escaped with a thrilling 9-8 win.

“Westside is always good so we knew it would be a close game,” Driessen said. “It ended up being a pretty high scoring game so winning games like that are always a good feeling.”

In the semifinal matchup the Wildcats were set to take on the Elkhorn South Storm, a team Millard West beat 16-0 earlier in the year. The Wildcats came to bat in the top of the first and started out hot as RBIs by Avery Moore and junior Korey Cozad put them up 2-0. Millard West put the ball in the hands of senior Sam Novotny who found himself in some trouble in the bottom of the first, as he gave up two runs to tie the game. Both sides went scoreless in the second and the third, before Millard West added one in each the fourth and fifth, sending the game to the sixth. 

Millard West could not get anything going in the top of the sixth, turning things over to Elkhorn South. The Storm offense exploded for a three run inning to take the lead 5-4. An RBI bunt single by Cozad in the top of the seventh tied the game at 5-5, but that’s all the Wildcats could manage. In the bottom of the seventh a single and two hit by pitches loaded the bases for the Storm, and a balk by senior Tyler Spreitzer brought in the winning run.

“We were confident but we also knew we needed to play well still,” Driessen said. “We knew that Elkhorn South was going to come to that game with a different energy than they did the last time but our goal was to beat that.”

The Wildcats dropped the game by a final score of 6-5, eliminating them from the Metro Conference Tournament. The Storm went on to lose to Creighton Prep in the Championship game as the Junior Jays won the tournament. Millard West will be back in action tonight as they face off against Lincoln Pius X.