FARGO, N.D. — Heading into Saturday's matchup with Rapid City (S.D.), PI Midwest coach Pat Mooney planned to start his ace Jeff Albrecht. Instead, he went with Adam Wilson.
The decision paid off as Wilson pitched a complete game, allowing one run in the 4-1 victory Saturday at the American Legion Central Plains Regional for the team from Omaha Creighton Prep.
“He did a nice job mixing speeds today,” Mooney said. “He battled, kept his pitch count down, made them swing at some pitches out of the zone. He had good command on all of his pitches today.”
PI Midwest (50-11) opened the scoring in the top of the fourth inning. Alex Allbery and Zane Zitek each singled to start the inning. After Zitek stole second, Zachary Garrett followed with an RBI groundout. Jason Allbery was hit by a pitch, putting runners on the corners with one out. PI Midwest then scored on a squeeze bunt by Michael Emodi to make it 2-0.
Rapid City responded in the sixth. Connor Merriam opened the inning with a double, then scored on the next play when PI Midwest botched a sacrifice bunt. With the tying run on second with no outs, Wilson navigated through the rest of the inning. He stranded two runners and preserved the 2-1 lead.
Even with Rapid City threatening, Mooney remained confident in his starter and opted not to warm up a reliever.
“We were all pretty confident,” Mooney said. “Adam can always battle.”
PI Midwest added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth. With the bases loaded, Garrett and Jason Allberry each drew four-pitch walks.
Mooney said Prep found unorthodox ways to score all day.
“I just finished up the scorebook and it was kind of interesting,” he said. “The first two guys got a couple hits apiece and were on base a lot. Our 3, 4 and 5 hitters were a combined 0 for 8, but they had all our RBIs.”
Rapid City brought the potential tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. With runners on first and second, Wilson induced a fly out to end the game.
PI Midwest will face elimination again Sunday, when it faces the team from Burnsville, Minn. The squads have a little bit of history dating to last summer.
“We haven't faced them this year at all, but we saw them last year, played them last year, and they hammered us,” Mooney said. “We'll have our work cut out for us.”
Mooney said he is still undecided on his starting pitcher Sunday. The decision could depend on whether Burnsville, which played the late game Saturday, enters Sunday's contest undefeated.
PI Midwest (Om. Creighton Prep) ............................ 000 200 020 — 4 8 3
Rapid City ................................................................ 000 001 000 —1 6 1
W: Wilson. L: Lees. 2B: RC, Merriam.