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BASEBALL

BASEBALL: Thunderbirds defeat heavy-hearted Monarchs in Bellevue Invite quarterfinals

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TBirds and Monarchs.JPG

The Thunderbirds (wearing yellow) and Monarchs (maroon) shake hands after Thursday’s (April 28) game, won 5-2 by the Thunderbirds.

Playing against the Papio Monarchs, who were dealing with the tragic loss of a teammate, the Bellevue West Thunderbirds won 5-2 in the Bellevue Invitational quarterfinals on Thursday, April 28.

“Our thoughts and prayers are obviously with Papillion, the baseball team and the whole community,” Thunderbirds head coach Jason Shockey said. “The baseball fraternity here in Omaha and Lincoln is very tight... I texted coach McCabe yesterday when I found out and I basically told him the same thing, anything that we can do, please let us know. We’re definitely thinking about them and not just now, but the next couple of days, and the weeks and months down the road. It’s something that’s horrible and tragic and our prayers go out to them.”

Once the game started, the Thunderbirds were quick to get on the scoreboard, scoring two runs on a fly ball to right field by Jackson Steele ruled to be an error.

“I was looking and it was 2-0, looking to swing it, something to bang, that was what I was looking for,” Steele said. “Fastball up, just swung as hard as I could and hit it.”

Bellevue West added another on an aggressive baserunning play to take a quick 3-0 lead.

The Monarchs answered with an RBI double by Isaiah O’Brien, but Thunderbirds starting pitcher Daniel Lester, who Shockey said had an outstanding performance on the mound, made it a 4-1 game with an RBI single in the bottom of the second.

“(His pitching) was huge,” Shockey said. “DL made a lot of really good pitches in some tough spots. I thought a big inning was the fifth where he went through the 2-3-4, (or) 3-4-5 hitters, and went strikeout, strikeout, fly out.”

The Monarchs scored a run in the top of the third, but left the bases loaded with two outs in the top of the fourth, and had runners on first and second with one out in the seventh. The Thunderbirds added a run in the fifth inning and came away with a 5-2 win as Bryce Woodard entered in relief in the seventh.

Shockey said the team had a mix up about who was going in when their walkie talkies stopped working with right and left-handed pitchers in the bullpen.

“In the grand scheme of things, Bryce was outstanding, picked up another save for us, so he was really good,” he said.

With the win, the Thunderbirds improve to 14-10 and will face the winner of Elkhorn-Gretna on Friday at 5:30 p.m.

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