FARGO, N.D. — PI Midwest (Omaha Creighton Prep) took the home crowd out of the game in a big way Thursday at the American Legion Central Plains Regional.
Coach Pat Mooney's squad scored 14 runs over the first two innings in cruising to a 15-4 first-round win over West Fargo, N.D. The victory puts PI Midwest (49-10) into a winners bracket game Friday at 5 p.m. against Iowa champion Carroll County.
“We didn't hit the ball all that great early but they were dropping in,'' Mooney said. “We definitely took their crowd out of it.''
The Nebraska state champion struck for three runs in the first and then blew the game open with an 11-run second. Sixteen batters marched to the plate for PI Midwest in that inning, though eight of the 11 runs were unearned after five early West Fargo errors.
That big lead allowed Mooney to pull ace Jeff Albrecht after two innings. The Creighton recruit threw just 30 pitches and will be able to return to the mound again soon in the double-elimination tournament.
Four others shared the pitching duty the rest of the way, and the five combined to throw a five-hitter. West Fargo scored four runs over the final four innings but it wasn't enough to prevent the 10-run mercy rule from being implemented in the seventh inning.
Zach Garrett led the PI Midwest offense with five RBIs while Jason Allbery had four hits. Zane Zitek and Allbery's brother Alex each scored three runs.
Mooney said his squad caught the North Dakota champion at a good time in the tournament.
“Their state tournament ended Sunday so we had an extra day of rest,'' he said. “It was a good first game for us, and a lot of guys got to play.''
PI Midwest's next opponent, Carroll County, defeated KB Building Services (Omaha Westside) in its opening game. West Fargo will play KB Building Services in an elimination game Friday at 10 a.m.
W. Fargo, N.D ............................ 000 120 1—4 5 5
PI Midwest ................................ 3(11)0 010 x—15 12 1
W: Petrich. L: Wolden. 2B: PI, A. Allbery. HR: PI, Petrich, Garrett.