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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

Wildcats dodge the Storm

Millard West sneaks past Elkhorn South in round one of the state tournament
Mike Sautter
Coming in for relief against Elkhorn South, senior pitcher Ben Sterbens looks to close the game out and earn a save. Sterbens has been put in this situation before and would not back down no matter the circumstance. ‘’Getting outs is my number one priority once I step on the mound,’’ Sterbens said. ‘’I trust my defense behind me so I do my best to make it easy on them whether that’s a pop-up or a routine ground ball.’’

Friday, May 10 marked the start of state baseball for eight teams in the Class A bracket. Millard West entered as a two-seed, who would then be matched up against an average Elkhorn South team. Being a seven-seed, the Storm would not go down without a fight, but upsetting a program like Millard West would be a tall task. 

The Storm is walking into this game with an 18-14 record with notable wins over Creighton Prep, Bellevue West and even a late-season win against Millard West. The Wildcats held a 29-5 record with wins over, well just about everyone in the Metro. With the newcomers and seasoned vets, this team put up a dominant season.

Millard West put the ball in junior Brady Ferguson’s hand for this game, and Elkhorn South would put senior Tanner Foertsch on the bump. After no runs scored in the first, the Storm opened up the game in the second. Senior Carter Oneel got things started with a lead-off walk. A few pitches later, Ferguson would throw a wild pitch to move Oneel over to second. Senior Crew McDonald then would smoke one into left field which would score Oneel making the score 1-0.

‘’I got a little worried after they scored that first run,’’ Junior Chance Roberts said. ‘’We just needed to be able to shut them down for the rest of the game, so we had time to put together some runs in the coming innings.’’


The second and third innings were rather quiet for the Cats, scoring zero in both with not much life at the plate, but that quickly changed in the fourth. Senior third baseman Nick Venteicher got on via a walk, but would then be retired after a fielder’s choice at second putting senior Jonathan Moffet at First. After a first at-bat strike out from senior Michael Valdivia, he decided to come back with vengeance the very next at-bat. Valdivia then shot a triple into the right-center gap scoring Moffet making the score even at 1-1.

‘’The ball felt good off the bat and getting to third was my intention the whole time,’’ Valdivia said. ‘’Elkhorn South being my old school, I knew I was due for a hit, and I’m glad it came at the right time.’’

A poorly executed pick-off attempt would sneak past the third basemen giving the Wildcats the edge at 2-1.

The fifth inning was soon under and Ferguson was relieved of his duties due to the likelihood of him pitching in the championship. Ferguson finished with 6 strikeouts and only allowed one run on two hits. Senior pitcher Ben Sterbens got the call in hopes of shutting the door on the Storm. Sterbens then got us out of a second and third jam with a strikeout to conclude the fifth inning.

‘’I’ve been locked in all week, so I was unfazed once I got the call,’’ Sterbens said. ‘’Being a relief pitcher for the majority of the year, I know my role and what I have to do in order to succeed. I’ve never pitched in an environment like this before so it definitely got my blood flowing.’’

Both teams would then go scoreless in the next two innings with a final score of 2-1 Wildcats. This was not expected on behalf of the Wildcats, but in the end, a ‘’W’’ is all that matters to this team of the year. At the time of this being written, the Wildcats went on to beat Creighton Prep and Elkhorn South again, propelling them to another state championship berth. Millard West will play the Spartans of Lincoln East for the second year in a row hoping to get revenge for the outcome of their last matchup. The game is on Friday, May 17 at Werner Park, the theme is Black Out.


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About the Contributor
Brady Mar
Brady Mar, Staff Reporter
Brady is a senior and this is his first year on staff for the CATalyst staff. He is involved with golf and Special Olympics here at Millard West. He enjoys playing sports, volunteering, and bonding with his friends. He also loves traveling to new places as well as trying new foods. Brady is excited to cover Millard West sports and learn more about the students here at Millard West.

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