The Papillion-La Vista South Titans began the 2021 Nebraska American Legion Class A American Division Playoffs with a big win in the first round over Omaha Westside on Saturday, before losing to a red-hot Gretna team on Sunday afternoon.
The Titans were faced with having to play the host-team Westside Warriors on a hot Saturday evening, but they still grinded out a tough 1-0 win. Behind the efforts of Nick Ripple, who pitched a complete seven-inning game, Papillion-La Vista South was able to upset the home team after scoring the game’s sole run in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Ripple finished with an impressive seven innings pitched, allowing zero earned runs on four hits alongside four strikeouts. The Titan defense played extremely well in backing up their pitcher Saturday night. Lead-off hitter Trenton Brehm finished the contest with a team-leading two hits and one RBI in the win.
Game two of the state tournament featured a matchup against the Gretna Dragons on Sunday night to advance in the winner’s bracket. Unfortunately for the Titans, they ran into a red-hot Dragons team that defeated the state’s top team in Bellevue West in the first round.
Gretna was on the scoreboard early as they plated two runs in the bottom of the first for an early lead, but Papillion South was able to tie it back up with two runs in the top of the third to make it 2-2. The Dragons were able to string together a few hits in the bottom of the fifth for what would be two go-ahead runs.
The Titans were unable to overcome the deficit and lost to Gretna 4-2 as Brayden Curtis pitched for five complete innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits alongside six strikeouts. Tyler Mackling came in for the final inning of work and punched out all three batters he faced. Brehm and Josh Greene both finished with a team-high two hits in the loss.
Papillion-La Vista South is 1-1 in the American Division tournament and now faces elimination entering every contest for the rest of the 2021 summer season. The Titans were slated to play their next tournament game on Monday, after the Papillion Times’ print deadline, in hopes of advancing to the championship round on Wednesday.