The best of the West’s

Wildcats beat Thunderbirds in close contest


Photo by Evan Vaslow

Freshman Brady Ferguson delivers a pitch in a game earlier this season against Millard North. On Tuesday, Ferguson tossed four innings, only allowing one hit and one earned run en route to the win. “I definitely could have done a better job with holding the runners on,” Ferguson said. “It [the win] gives me more motivation to keep earning starts and keep doing my thing now that I’m finally getting settled in.”

Joseph Ebmeier, Staff Reporter

Coming off a close 4-1 victory over the Omaha Westside Warriors, the Millard West varsity baseball team traveled to Bellevue West to take on the Thunderbirds on Tuesday, April 26.

The Thunderbirds put the ball in the hands of sophomore Nick Riggs. Like they have done many times already this year, the Wildcats threatened to score early as they had runners on first and third with two outs, however, a hard-hit lineout by senior Dylan Driessen ended the top of the first. Freshman Brady Ferguson started on the bump for the Wildcats. He quickly found himself in some trouble as he walked the first batter, who advanced to third with only one out. Despite the threat, Ferguson struck out two batters in a row to end the inning and keep the game 0-0.

“I feel that after I got out of that first inning with those strikeouts, it gave me a little bit of momentum going into the bottom of the lineup,” Ferguson said. “I feel that I did a good job of not letting up any passed balls and staying calm and not getting rattled while having a good runner on and being in the top of the lineup.”

It would stay that way throughout the entire second and third innings as neither side could get anything going off the opposing team’s pitcher. The Wildcats went down in order in the top of the fourth, but in the bottom of the inning a Thunderbird solo home run by senior Daniel Lester put them up 1-0.

After the home run put Millard West down one, a previously dormant Wildcats offense woke up in the top of the fifth. Junior Nixon Synder started things with a single and advanced to second on a groundout by junior Drew Deremer. A walk and sac bunt by seniors Rice Whitaker and AJ Tauber gave the Wildcats runners at second and third with two outs. Bellevue West then opted to intentionally walk senior Drew Borner and chose to pitch to sophomore Nick Venteicher. The decision proved to be costly for the Thunderbirds as Venteicher hit a single to center field, scoring two, giving the Wildcats a 2-1 lead. As the Cats went back onto the field, senior Mason Koch took the mound.

“I think the biggest change of that inning was having a two-out hit,” Driessen said. “We ended the first with runners in scoring position as well but Nick had a great at-bat and got two runs in.”

Neither side was able to get any offense going in the sixth inning, sending the game to the seventh with Millard West still up 2-1. Deremer started off the seventh with a walk, and his pinch runner sophomore Jackson Williams advanced to third on a Thunderbird error. He scored one batter later on a sacrifice flyout by senior Rice Whitaker. The Wildcats scored one more on an RBI single by Venteicher. The Thunderbird offense once again was stagnant in the bottom of the inning when Koch sent them down in order to give the Wildcats a 4-1 win.

“Bellevue West is one of those teams that always finds a way to be in the game,” Driessen said. “They compete very well so this was an important game that we are going to take into our final tournament before State.”

This win gives the Wildcats a regular-season record of 22-5. They will be back in action later today as they take on Millard North in the first game of the Don Kraft Invitational, a tournament hosted by Millard South. Millard West will play their final regular-season game next Monday at home against Creighton Prep.