Cats’ streak continues

Millard West adds two more big wins in Don Kraft Invitational


Evan Vaslow

Senior Drew Borner lines a ball into center field for an RBI single to tie the game against Creighton Prep. The Wildcats would go on to win in extra innings. “The Prep game felt like a state tournament game,” Borner said. “We love playing in these games. They mean more and they are just fun to be apart of. Whenever you’re in a game like that, your adrenaline fuels your game.”

Evan Vaslow, MWHS Wildcat News co-Editor-in-Chief

Riding a seven-game winning streak, the Millard West baseball team entered the Don Kraft Invitational, on April 28, red-hot. 

During their streak, the Wildcats had notable wins against Gretna (twice), Millard North, Elkhorn South and Bellevue West.

“After the Elkhorn South loss a couple weeks ago, we kind of refocused,” Borner said. “It was huge that we were able to bounce back. We have been riding momentum and we’re hoping to keep that going during the postseason.”

Junior Drew Deremer started on the mound for the Wildcats in their first tournament game against Millard North. Deremer dominated the Mustang offense, only allowing two hits through three innings of work and striking out six. Out of the bullpen, juniors Ben David and Joey Hartnett, sophomore Jackson Williams and senior Blake Broady allowed only three hits and two earned runs combined. 

“I think the key to the success on the mound is that we have such a great, talented pitching staff,” Broady said. “When one pitcher is not on their game. we have such good depth in pitching that another pitcher will be right there to back him up.”

The Wildcat offense saw similar success, striking for three runs in the first inning on a home run from Avery Moore. They added six more in the bottom of the second with hits from Borner, senior AJ Tauber, sophomore Nick Venteicher and junior Peyton Moore. Avery Moore hit his second home run of the game in the fourth, putting the Wildcats up 10-2. He would end the game with three hits, three runs, four RBIs, two home runs and a double.

The following day, Millard West took on Creighton Prep. Senior Jaxson Cahoy started on the mound. A shaky first inning, with a hit and a pair of walks, let the Jr. Jays onto the board quickly. Millard West answered in the bottom half with a run of their own on an RBI groundout from junior Korey Cozad. The Cats added another in the second when senior Dylan Driessen scored on a wild pitch.

Both Cahoy and the Prep pitcher, junior Robert O’Malley, fell into a grove in the middle innings. O’Malley held the Cats scoreless in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth, only allowing two hits in that span. Cahoy had similar success, only allowing two hits from the second to fifth innings and striking out eight. 

The Jays cracked Cahoy in the sixth, scoring one on a pair of doubles. With two outs in the inning, the Wildcats went to senior closer Mason Koch. Koch got out of the inning without any more runs, but the damage was done, and the score was tied 2-2. 

A leadoff single in the top of the seventh and an error by Driessen gave the Jays a runner in scoring position with no outs. Koch battled back, however, striking out the next two Prep batters. The Cats intentionally walked junior Parker Mooney, and instead elected to pitch to junior Elliot Peterson. This decision backfired, as Peterson laced a double into left field, giving the Jays a 3-2 lead. Koch rebounded and got a pop out to escape the jam with minimal harm.

A one-out double from Peyton Moore got the Wildcats going in the bottom of the seventh. He advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on an RBI single from Borner, tying the game 3-3. Millard West couldn’t push any more runs across, and the game went to extra innings. 

“That was one of my biggest hits as a Wildcat,” Borner said. “It felt great to give my team a chance.”

Koch set the Jays down in order in the top of the eighth. A pair of walks and a hit batter loaded the bases for the Cats with no outs in the bottom half, and another walk by Deremer scored the winning run. 

“The energy in the dugout against Prep was a sneak peek of what a state game is like,” Broady said. “There wasn’t a single pitch that wasn’t nerve racking. The energy was there all game long.”

The championship game of the tournament (where Millard West would have played Lincoln East) was canceled due to weather. 

“Last year we didn’t do so well in this tournament, so it would have been nice for a chance to win it,” Borner said. “It also would have been nice to see Lincoln East before the state tournament.”

Millard West will play Creighton Prep again on Monday for their last game of the regular season.