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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

Opening day dub

Cats down Jays in first game of the season
Logan Moseley
Senior shortstop Tyson Lewis rounds the basepaths after hitting a huge triple to change the tide after being put in a 4-0 hole. Lewis had the triple but as well as two walks and a hit by pitch, and plated two runs. “Yes I have had a good start to the season, but I am always looking to get better,” Lewis said. “ Sometimes you just gotta keep your head down and focus on your craft.”

On Friday, March 15, the Wildcat varsity baseball team hosted the Creighton Prep Jr. Jays in the season opener for both squads. This originally wasn’t the plan, as Millard West had their season opener against Elkhorn South canceled the day before due to rain.

With first pitch scheduled at 4:30 p.m, this would be a big game for both teams. Millard West needed this win to start their season off right, a season which hopes to get back to the title game, but win it all this time and not fall short. Creighton Prep, a sophomore heavy team, looks to gain a huge win and valuable experience against a tough opponent.

On the mound for the Wildcats would be star two-sport athlete, and future North Dakota State Bison in both football and baseball, senior Jackson Williams. For the Jr. Jays, senior Michael Sall would be on the bump.

Williams would struggle early in and often in the first inning, as he would go through the entire prep batting order in 45 pitches, before being pulled with one out left in the top of the first. In relief for Williams was junior Dylan Sweircek, who would save the horrific start to the season and get the final out. Williams final statline for the day would be three hits, four runs, four earned runs, four walks, one hit batter, no strikeouts with a 42.00 earned runs average in his ⅔ of an inning pitched.

“Over the off season I changed my throwing mechanics,” Williams said. “I’m going back to my old mechanics from last season and I already feel better.”

With a 4-0 hole to fight through for the rest of the game, it would be up to the skilled bats of the Wildcats to comeback and win this game. Leading the charge at the top of the order would be future Arkansas Razorback shortstop Tyson Lewis, Creighton Bluejay third baseman Nick Venteicher and Northeast Community College first baseman Johnathan Moffett. Venteicher and Moffett would find their way on base, and a sac fly from senior catcher Caden Driessen would bring Venteicher home to cut the lead to three. After the end of the first inning the Wildcats were down 4-1.

Sweircek would return to the mound with a bunch of momentum, and wouldn’t allow a run for the next three innings that he pitched. In the meantime, the Wildcats bats caught fire. With runners on second and third, junior outfielder Jake Blackman hit one high and far to right center field. While the ball may not have fell, another sac fly would send two runners home, cutting the deficit to just one run. With the top of the order back up, it was not looking good for the junior jays. Lewis then joined the hitting frey, as he sent one near the warning track that was good enough for a triple. Venteicher proved why he is considered one of the top recruits in the state, as he added an RBI double to his productive day. However he was caught stealing third, and the end of the second inning saw a 4-4 tie.

With no runs for the junior jays in the top of the third, Millard West had a chance to pile on some more. With a bases loaded, two out situation, Lewis was up- and looking for his first home run for the season. On a 2-2 count, Lewis swung and made contact, but ultimately grounded out to first. 

As Sweircek continued to deal on the mound, the Jays offense was non-existent. For the most part, the Wildcat offense was the same. The one outlier came from Venteicher, as to start the bottom of the fourth inning, on a 2-2 count, Venteicher swung low for a solo shot home run. It would be the first lead of the day for the Wildcats, and the first blast of the season as a team.

“The Elkhorn South game changed our pitching rotation a little bit,” Sweircek said. “I was also supposed to start in one of the games during our road trip down in Oklahoma, but I came in as a relief pitcher instead.”

Sweircek would finally end his day in the fifth inning, posting an impressive statline of 4 innings pitched, three hits, one walk, six ꓘ’s in 58 pitches. Up from the bullpen was junior Ethan Kucks. Kucks job was simple- finish the inning. And that he did, and did so in 14 pitches and allowed just one walk. 

The sixth saw great pitching from both teams as neither got a run home. Venteicher hoped to close out his impressive day by closing out the game. The junior jays saw other ideas however, as they would plate one run, and tying the game 5-5 in the final inning. The run wasn’t credited to Venteicher, however it set up an interesting conclusion to this opening day showdown. 

Senior Ben Sterbens was up first, and was sat down on a payoff pitch. Then was Sweircek, who also struck out. With two outs, Blackman came up to the mound. Dead in the momentum, Blackman walked to first. The game winning run was on base. Lewis came up to the plate, and intentionally walked, putting Blackman on second. 

Then, a pitching change for the Jays. All they needed was one out. Venteicher came up and on the first pitch, the prep pitcher had a wild pitch go over the head of him. Blackman advanced to third, and Lewis advanced to second. Venteicher was then intentionally walked, bringing up Moffett. With bases loaded and two outs in a tied 5-5 game, the first pitch went high. Ball one. Next pitch was once again high. Ball two. The next pitch was low, but Moffett swung and missed. Two balls, one strike. The next pitch was way outside. Three balls, one strike. The following pitch was high. Moffett walked, Blackman scored. West pulled out of a 0-4 hole to win 6-5. 

“This was a huge first win for us,” Moffett said. “We know how good we are, and even though we didn’t play our best ball, as a team we need to clean some things up and continue to win games.”

Venteicher was given the win on the mound to cap off his incredible day. His pitching statline was just one hit and two strikeouts in one full inning pitched. In the batters box he had two hits, a double, home run, an intentional walk, a hit by pitch and scoring one run. 

With a 1-0 record Millard West looks ready to fight for the state crown, just like in years past.

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About the Contributor
Logan Moseley
Logan Moseley, Staff Reporter
This is Logan’s senior year and 4th year on staff. Last year he was the MWHS Wildcat News Broadcast Editor In Chief, Striv Executive Producer and one of the piloting students of the “High School Radio Project.” Moseley won 1st place in the NSAA Class A News Broadcast category, and placed in the Broadcast Feature category as well. Moseley worked with the President of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association, Jim Timm, on the HSRP, worked for the Corn Belt baseball summer league live streaming service, and was a PA for Millard North Legion Baseball. Moseley is a fan of the Los Angeles Rams and Nebraska Cornhuskers.

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