Elkhorn turned in a dominating performance Thursday as high school baseball teams returned after a one-year hiatus.
The Class B No. 1 Antlers defeated No. 3 Omaha Skutt 10-1. It was the first varsity game since May 2019 following last season’s cancellation of spring athletics because of COVID-19.
“It’s been 600-plus days, so the guys were just thankful to get out there and play,” Elkhorn coach Kyle McCright said. “We were ready to go.”
The Antlers sent Nebraska pledge Drew Christo to the mound and he was the center of attention. At least a dozen pro scouts were camped behind home plate, each armed with a radar gun.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound senior played football for the state champion Antlers in the fall and basketball for the state runner-up squad that lost to Beatrice in overtime last Saturday.
“The first time he had thrown to batters was Monday,” McCright said. “I give a lot of credit to both our pitchers today.”
Christo threw the first three innings, allowing one run and striking out three. Senior Tony Donahoe pitched the final four and did not give up a run.
“It’s definitely been a weird week,” Christo said. “I’m grateful we were able to make it that far in basketball, and now it’s on to baseball.”
Christo, whose fastball has been clocked in the low 90s, credited his teammates for giving him so much run support. Elkhorn broke the game open early with a seven-run second inning.
“The team really competed today,” he said. “Two years feels like a long time to be away, so we’re all happy to be back.”
The visiting Antlers sent 11 to the plate in that second inning, which was highlighted by RBI doubles from Gannon Gragert, Kyler Randazzo and Grant Gutschow. Gragert and Randazzo doubled again later in the game.
“You’re never sure how things are going to go early in the season,” McCright said. “But we put the ball in play today.”
Connor Hunt, Malakai Vetock and Alex Calabrese also had RBIs for Elkhorn.
Ethan Grossjung led the SkyHawks’ attack with a pair of doubles. He had the only hit off Christo and came around to score in the third on a groundout by Sam Kudron.
Christo and Donahoe limited Skutt to five hits. The SkyHawks left the bases loaded in the seventh as Donahoe got Nick Wiepen to fly out to end the game.
McCright said it was a positive start for his team and for Christo, who probably will receive similar attention the rest of the season.
“There were a lot of scouts here today,” the coach said. “It’s good for Drew and good for our program, and I feel like the sky’s the limit for him.”
Elkhorn (1-0)...............070 011 1—10 11 1
Omaha Skutt (0-1)......001 000 0— 1 5 2
W: Christo. L: Sudbeck. 2B: E, Gragert 2, Randazzo 2, Gutschow, Calabrese; OS, Grossjung 2, Borsh.