Omaha Skutt showcased its power and hitting depth during the opening round of the Class B tournament Saturday at Werner Park.
Seniors Nick Wiepen and Sam Borsh, who make up the heart of the lineup, each hit a two-run blast to left field in the fourth inning in leading the SkyHawks to a 14-4 win against Central City/Fullerton/Centura in six innings.
But it was the SkyHawks’ No. 9 hitter sparking an offense against Kernel starter Tres Gonsior.
Junior Dylan Brisbois hit a bases-clearing double to give Skutt a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Skutt followed with four runs in the third, four more in the fourth, one in the fifth and two in the sixth to end the game via mercy rule.
“The nice thing about this team is we’ve been aggressive and swinging it well, especially in the second half of the season,” Skutt coach Tim Lackovic said. “With the slow start (Saturday), it’s not panic time for us and they know that. They have a lot of confidence, and it shows.”
Wiepen, Sam Kudron and Borsh — the 3-4-5 hitters — combined for six hits, seven RBIs and 10 runs. Borsh had four RBIs and added a triple.
“Our coaches talked a lot about just because it’s a bigger stage doesn’t mean it’s a different game, so we just stuck to our basics and got after it,” Borsh said.
Skutt’s early jump on the Kernels (19-6) allowed starting pitcher Cade Barton, an Emporia State commit, to exit the game earlier to save his arm for next week.
The senior threw 3 1/3 innings (69 pitches) and struck out eight while allowing two hits.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit nervous doing it (pulling Barton early), but it’s a big deal, and hats off to our hitters for putting us in a position where we can do that,” Lackovic said. “Now we’re in a good spot pitching-wise.”
Skutt (18-6) moved to the winners bracket game at 7 p.m. Monday at Werner Park. Central City/Fullerton/Centura, making its first state appearance, will play at 4 p.m. in an elimination game.