LINCOLN — Byron Hood spent a lot of time on the mound to start Norris' Class B state tournament opener, but it was his final trip to the plate that ended it.
Hood, a Nebraska baseball recruit, singled home fellow NU commit Jakson Reetz with the game-winning run in the 12th inning to give the top-seeded Titans a 2-1 win over eighth-seed Waverly in 12 innings Saturday at Haymarket Park.
“All I saw was a big beach ball, and I just tried to hit it,” Hood said. “I knew Jack (Reetz) was fast enough coming around third, and I just wanted to do it for our team.”
The Norris stars each took their turns on the mound in a fine pitching duel with Waverly hurlers Erik Evans and Sam Tewes.
Hood, a junior right-hander, went the first eight innings and threw 143 pitches while striking out 13. Reetz moved from behind the plate to the mound to start the ninth and struck out five while allowing just one hit in four innings of relief. The two held Waverly to one hit after the second inning.
“I was hesitant to take (Hood) out because he was on such a role, but we've got Jack, he's our closer,” Norris coach Jason Cullison said. “We're in a 1-1 game, and I'm not going to lose without putting our best out there.”
Tewes, a Wichita State recruit, matched Reetz nearly pitch-for-pitch in the late innings. He struck out eight in 62⁄3 innings in relief before allowing the game-ending Norris rally with two outs in the 12th.
Reetz, who picked up the win in relief, doubled to left ahead of Hood's single. It was the fifth time he reached base in the game. He also walked three times and was hit by a pitch.
Norris had chances to end the game earlier, including having runners at first and third with none out in the eighth. But Tewes struck out the next two batters before Reetz was caught in a rundown between third and home to end the inning.
The Vikings scratched across an unearned run in the first to take a 1-0 lead, but committed a string of errors on their own to allow Norris to tie the game in the sixth. Waverly center fielder Tyler Helmick misplayed John Estudillo's fly ball to start the inning, putting Estudillo at third. Estudillo came home on a throwing error two batters later.
“What do you say? You can't make four errors and beat a team that good,” Waverly coach Michael Goodrich said. “A team that good, you've got to play straight-up baseball and not make mistakes.”
Waverly (12-9) ....................... 100 000 000 000 — 1 4 4
Norris (22-1) .......................... 000 001 000 001 — 2 6 1
W: Reetz (2-0). L: Tewes (4-2). 2B: N, Reetz; W, Tewes