Because they’ve had so much practice this season with these how-did-they-do-that rallies, the Millard South Patriots’ 4-3 victory over Omaha Burke Saturday proved to be just another day at the park.
The Patriots (14-6) trailed 3-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh in the first-round game of the Class A state baseball tournament at Werner Park, and nothing in the first six innings gave any indication of what they were about to do.
Burke starting pitcher Ryan Cate had kept Millard South hitless until the fifth inning. The Bulldogs (13-8) had put up single runs in the first, third and sixth innings.
“We lay in the weeds for the first six innings,” Millard South coach Greg Geary joked. “Unfortunately, or fortunately, that’s happened a few times for us this year.”
The Patriots, who’d collected just three hits through six innings, doubled that total with their first three at-bats in the bottom of the seventh.
Right fielder Beau Fultz, third baseman Anthony Cloyd and catcher Nate Mallot — Millard South’s Nos. 6, 7 and 8 hitters — all singled up the middle to ignite the rally.
Fultz scored on a wild pitch and Cloyd came home on a sacrifice fly by Ryan DeVries that led Burke coach Scott Hodges to lift Cate and move catcher Adam Caniglia to the mound.
Then Brenden Trout — courtesy running for Mallot — zipped home on a single by leadoff hitter David Foley to tie the game. Jake Huscroft successfully executed a hit-and-run to move Foley to third, and Jackson Bruckner was intentionally walked to load the bases.
The first pitch from Caniglia to Mitchell Kresik hit the designated hitter to force Foley home with the winning run.
“Our kids have the confidence they are never out of a game,” Geary said. “We’ve had times we’ve kind of been flat offensively the first four, five or six innings. We got a couple of big hits there in that last inning.”
Burke scored in the top of the first inning when center fielder Austin Plath lined a one-out double to right field and Cate earned a walk. A ground-rule double by Caniglia that bounced off the right-field warning track sent Plath scurrying home.
The Bulldogs’ run in the third came in large part because of a Patriots fielding error. Cate went all the way to third on the miscue, and Jack Dresslar came in as his courtesy runner. He eventually scored on an infield groundout.
Patriot mistakes helped set up Burke’s final run, too. Right fielder Eric Daubach reached on a fielding error, moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on a balk before scoring on a single to center field by shortstop Turner Gaines.
The Patriots (14-6) will next face Papillion-La Vista South in a winners bracket game at 4 p.m. Monday at Werner Park. Burke (13-8) will play Lincoln Southwest in an elimination game at the same time Monday at Papillion’s Fricke Field.
Omaha Burke (13-8)................................101 001 0—3 7 1
Millard South (14-6).................................000 000 4—4 8 3
W: Kyle Crampton. L: Adam Caniglia. 2B: OB, Austin Plath, Adam Caniglia 2.
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