For six innings, it was all Omaha Creighton Prep in its baseball game against Millard South.
But, oh ... that seventh inning.
The sixth-ranked Patriots, hitless through six, rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh Friday night to defeat the top-ranked Junior Jays 4-3. Millard South improved to 2-1 while visiting Prep fell to 1-2.
“That was a crazy game,” Patriots coach Greg Geary said. “We were able to keep that deficit to three runs so I still felt we had a chance.”
The defending Class A champion looked the part early as ace Jeff Albrecht mowed down the Millard South hitters. He struck out 11 in four innings to preserve the lead the Junior Jays built with a three-run third.
Prep hit for the cycle in the third against Patriots starter Beau Fultz. A single by Scott Huber, a double by Adam Wilson, a triple by Jason Allbery and a two-run homer by Mike Emodi put the Junior Jays on top.
Millard South reliever Matt Meiners came on and held the fort, yielding two hits the rest of the way. But Prep was still cruising after two innings of scoreless relief by McLaine Jonas as the Junior Jays took their three-run lead into the seventh.
Senior reliever Alex Armendariz hit the first two batters he faced, and both advanced on a wild pitch. A fielder’s choice grounder by David Foley and a throwing error by shortstop Alex Hechtner brought home both runners to make it 3-2.
Jackson Bruckner then put down a bunt that went for Millard South’s first hit. Kyle Crampton was hit by a pitch and Mitchell Kresnik singled to load the bases, still with none out.
Following a strikeout by Nate Mallott, Ryan DeVries hit a grounder to shortstop. Hechtner threw home but the throw was up the third-base line just enough to allow Bruckner to score the winning run.
“We gave them too many base runners in the seventh,” Prep coach Pat Mooney said. “We had some breakdowns and we didn’t hit the ball enough earlier to extend our lead.”
One bright spot for the Junior Jays was Albrecht, a Creighton recruit who appeared to be in midseason form. Making his first start of the year, the left-hander struck out 11 of the 12 batters he faced before giving way to Jonas in the fifth.
“Jeff threw great,” Mooney said. “But it’s too early in the season to make him pitch longer than he did.”
Geary also credited Albrecht for his strong performance.
“Hats off to him,” the coach said. “He’s one of the best pitchers in the state, and he showed that today.”
While it was only the Patriots’ third game of the season, Geary said it was an important win against the defending champion.
“We kept it close and were able to pull out the win,” he said. “It was a wild one, but we’ll take it.”
Om. Creighton Prep (1-2) ........................... 003 000 0—3 7 2
At Millard South (2-1) ........................... 000 000 4—4 2 0
W: Meiners. L: Armendariz. 2B: CP, Wilson. 3B: CP, Allbery. HR: CP, Emodi.
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