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The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

Pitching past the Ponies

Head coach Steve Frey earns 300th career win defeating Mustangs
Kaelyn Kozol
Junior pitcher Dylan Swiercek delivers a pitch during the middle innings. Swiercek’s 58 pitches resulted in four strikeouts, and one hit en route to the 6-1 win over Millard North. “It was good to go out and compete for coach Frey’s 300th win,” Swiercek said. “You know a rival like North with a former coach of ours was obviously highly anticipated.”

On Thursday, March 28, the Millard West baseball team was in search of their 10th win on the young season in a matchup against district rival Millard North.

Making his third appearance of the year, junior Dylan Swiercek started on the bump for the Cats. He would set down the first two Mustangs via a swinging strikeout and a groundout. Following a four-pitch walk to the three-hole man, another groundout would finish the job and give the Wildcats a chance to hit. 

It would only take four pitches for senior Tyson Lewis to strike as he hammered a ball deep over the right field fence to put the Cats up 1-0. A quick groundout, followed by two straight walks, a pop-out and another walk loaded the bases for junior Tyson Meier who went down swinging.

“My mentality as the leadoff guy is to always set the tone for the game offensively,” Lewis said. “Starting off the game with a hard line drive into the gap or over the fence kind of takes the wind out of the other team’s sails and gives us an advantage. We have a long way to go to be a state championship-caliber team but I know that we are on the right track, we just need to keep working.”

The top half of the second flew by after a leadoff walk, led to a fielder’s choice out at second and a Mustang caught stealing second. Swiercek would strike out the next Mustang looking, sending it to the bottom of the second.

The Wildcats would surrender two outs to start the bottom half until Lewis reached base after an error. Junior Nick Venteicher would follow that up with a deep drive to left that touched down at the base of the wall allowing Lewis to score easily and have Venteicher trot into third with a triple. The throw back into the infield would get away from the third baseman to which Venteicher advanced home to grow the lead to 3-0. A flyout to the right would limit the damage and turn the bats back over to the Mustangs.

Back out for his third inning of work, Swiercek got the first Mustang to pop out followed by a five-pitch walk to the next. As Mustang senior Nolan Fee lined the 1-1 pitch to third, Venteicher jumped and snagged the high liner for one, then threw behind the runner at first for the double play.

In the bottom half of the third, Millard North would hand the pitching duties over to senior Carson Obrecht who came out firing. Obrecht would go three up three down with back-to-back strikeouts and a line out to right.

Swiercek responded to start the fourth with a strikeout followed by a walk to junior Mustang Ripken Fleck. A flyout to center would give way to Millard North junior Alexander Michaud. On the 1-1 pitch, Fleck stole second while Michaud worked a full count. Michaud would laser a ball into the left-center gap for an RBI double to give the Mustangs their first run. Swiercek proceeded to set the next batter down on strikes to close out the inning and his afternoon on the mound.

Obrecht repeated the last inning with another three up three down via the strikeout looking, a groundout to third, and a flyout to left.

Millard West junior Peyton Roberts took over on the mound and did likewise with a three up three down inning through a 1-3 groundout and two strikeouts.

Lewis led things off in the bottom of the fifth for the Wildcats with a single and advanced to second after a passed ball, then to third after a balk from Obrecht. Lewis would cross the plate following a groundout from Venteicher to pad the lead to 4-1. Two walks with a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for senior Caden Driessen. He was also issued a walk, allowing a run to score and closing out Obrecht’s afternoon as the Mustangs changed pitchers. Mustang senior TJ Leiferman got Meier to fly out although a run would score to improve the Wildcat lead to 6-1. Leiferman followed that up with another flyout to the right to retire the side.

There were multiple defensive changes for the Wildcats entering the sixth as senior Benjamin Sterbens took over on the mound. A strikeout from the leadoff Mustang was followed up by back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second. Sterbens responded with two quick outs via a strikeout and flyout.

Leiferman started the home half on the mound with a strikeout to Millard West junior Brady Ferguson. The lineup card would turn over to Lewis who was given the free pass to first after a four-pitch walk. He advanced to second with a stolen base but was caught stealing third a pitch later for the second out. In a 3-0 count, Venteicher swung on a low fastball that carried into left-center but was well short of the wall for a flyout.

Venteicher was given the duty to close out the game in the top of the seventh with a five-run lead. He started off by forcing the first Mustang he faced to make weak contact for a 6-3 groundout followed by a five-pitch walk to the next. The next Mustang would pop out into shallow right field due to a sliding grab by Sterbens. Venteicher closed out the game with a swinging strikeout to seal a 6-1 win, as well as earn head coach Steve Frey his 300th career win. 

“I don’t feel like the 300th win was any more special for me against Millard North versus anyone else,” Frey said. “It’s a nice accomplishment but I don’t play the games… I’ve had great players and coaches throughout my time. It also means that I’ve been coaching a long time now and getting old.”

The Wildcats now advance to a 10-1 record on the young season while still being undefeated in the state of Nebraska.

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About the Contributor
Sam Whittaker
Sam Whittaker, Staff Reporter
Also known as the voice of Millard West Hockey, Sam is a junior at Millard West beginning his first full year on the Catalyst Staff. He spent the summer working alongside Logan Moseley for the Corn Belt League gaining valuable broadcasting experience. In his free time, Sam cheers on the Tennessee Volunteers and Nashville Predators whenever he isn’t broadcasting or photographing Millard West sports.

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