Papillion Pinnacle Bank finished as the runner-up this week in the nation’s largest American Legion tournament.
Coach Nate McCabe’s squad lost to Mankato (Minnesota) 4-1 in Tuesday’s final of the 96-team Gopher Classic, played in suburban Minneapolis. The squad from Papillion-La Vista High went 7-2 and boosted its overall record to 26-15.
“I knew we had it in us,” McCabe said. “That tournament is such a grind, but I think we definitely learned something about ourselves.”
The coach said the experience reminded him of 2017, when his squad captured the Legion state title and qualified for a regional.
“When we won that summer, it told us how good we could be,” McCabe said. “I think it’s a lot like that because we really played up to our potential.”
Pinnacle Bank finished ahead of 94 other teams despite being short-handed. Two players were hurt the previous week, dropping the roster to 13.
“Of those 13, 11 of those guys pitched in the tournament,” McCabe said. “We were down to our last pitcher in the final, and he gave us 5⅔ innings, but we came up a little short.”
Pinnacle Bank will host one of the Senior Area tournaments that begin Friday.
“This is definitely something our guys should feel good about,” McCabe said. “It’s an experience they’ll be talking about 20 years from now.”
Leyboldt is perfect
Brody Leyboldt of Taylor Made Home Solutions (Omaha Northwest) recently pitched a perfect game against the team from Omaha Bryan.
Leyboldt went all seven innings and struck out eight to lead the Huskies to a 5-0 victory.
“Brody fell behind 3-0 on the first batter he faced and came back to get him,” coach Nick Lovell said. “I guess that was a sign that good things were going to happen.”
Lovell added that Leyboldt’s teammates made several strong defensive plays to keep the gem alive.
“(Second baseman) Luke Beal made three great plays,” the coach said. “He caught a line drive and made two plays in the hole between first and second.”
Leyboldt struck out the final batter looking to finish off the perfect game.
“When he got that last batter, I went out and tackled him,” Lovell said. “Then everybody else piled on, too.”
The coach said the victory is the high point in the Huskies’ nine-win season.
“We’ve had some tough losses, but this was a great memory the boys will always have,” he said. “The whole team was all smiles afterward.”
Reetz makes MLB debut
Former Norris High and Hickman Legion standout Jakson Reetz made a memorable major league debut last week for the Washington Nationals.
Reetz doubled to right-center field in his first at-bat against San Francisco.
The 25-year-old catcher worked his way up through the Nationals’ farm system since being selected out of high school in the third round of the 2014 draft.
Area tourneys set
The Class A Senior area tournaments begin this week at seven sites, including four in Omaha.
Those tourneys will be played at Bellevue West, Millard West, Omaha Skutt, Papillion (Fricke Field), Lincoln (Den Hartog Field), Norfolk and Kearney. Area finals will be played Tuesday.
The top two teams at each site and two other squads will qualify for the 16-team state tournament that begins July 24. Those other two teams will be determined after area tourney play.
The Senior state tournament will be split between Omaha Westside (American Division) and Den Hartog Field (National Division).
A-1, at Bellevue West
Friday: DC Electric (Bellevue West), bye; Jordan’s Studio Post 331 (Omaha South) vs. Millard Sox Black, 2 p.m.; SOS Heating & Cooling (Ralston) vs. C&H Construction (Omaha North), 4:30; Taylor Made Home Solutions (Omaha Northwest) vs. 52s Patriots (Millard South), 7.
A-2, at Millard West
Friday: Papillion-La Vista South Titans vs. Hike Real Estate (Bellevue East), 1 p.m.; KB Building Services (Omaha Westside) vs. Big Fred’s (Millard North), 4 p.m.; Peitzmeier Demolition (Omaha Gross) vs. Wolfe Electric (Millard West), 7.
A-3, at Omaha Skutt
Friday: Five Points Bank (Omaha Creighton Prep 1) vs. Junior Bluejays (Omaha Creighton Prep 2), 3 p.m.; OrthoNebraska Antlers (Elkhorn) vs. Four Aces Kwik Stop (Omaha Central), 5:30; Bennington Post 266 vs. Arbor Bank SkyHawks (Omaha Skutt), 8.
A-4, at Papillion (Fricke Field)
Friday: Prime Time Sporting Goods (Omaha Burke) vs. Equitable Bank (Elkhorn North), 1 p.m.; PDG Storm (Elkhorn South) vs. Omaha Bryan Post 339, 4:30; Papillion Pinnacle Bank (Papillion-La Vista) vs. Millard Sox Gold, 8.
A-5, at Lincoln (Den Hartog)
Thursday: Anderson Ford (Lincoln North Star), bye; Union Bank (Lincoln Pius X) vs. JC Brager (Lincoln Southeast), 1 p.m.; Carpet Land (Lincoln East) vs. Lincoln Pinnacle Bank (Lincoln Southwest), 4; Sampson Construction (Lincoln High) vs. Judds Brothers (Lincoln Northeast), 7.
A-6, at Norfolk
Friday: Gretna, bye; Fremont First State Bank vs. South Sioux City, 11 a.m.; Grand Island U-Save vs. Grand Island Home Federal, 3 p.m.; Norfolk vs. Columbus, 7.
A-7, at Kearney
Friday: Kearney Runza, bye; Lexington Pinnacle Bank vs. Westco Zephyrs (Scottsbluff), 5 p.m.; FNBO Nationals (North Platte) vs. Hastings Five Points Bank, 7:30.