Warriors remain only undefeated team in state baseball tournament, take it game by game

Westside+center+fielder+senior+Devin+Stueck+preparing+to+swing+at+a+pitch+during+Westsides+state+tournament+game+against+Papillion-La+Vista+South+Monday%2C+May+19.+Stueck+bats+second+in+the+Westside+lineup.+Photo+by+Kellie+Wasikowski

Westside center fielder senior Devin Stueck preparing to swing at a pitch during Westside’s state tournament game against Papillion-La Vista South Monday, May 19. Stueck bats second in the Westside lineup. Photo by Kellie Wasikowski

Kellie Wasikowski, News Writer

After winning its first two games of the state baseball tournament, the baseball team headed into the only remaining winner’s bracket game on Tuesday, May 20 against Grand Island — a team they had not yet encountered this season.

The Warriors did not enter this game timidly at all, though, as they scored four runs in the top of the first inning. A single by No. 4 hole hitter sophomore Mitch Hagan brought in seniors Jake Meyers and Devin Stueck for the first two runs. Another single by junior Matt Waldron brought in two more runs, which put the Warriors at five hits and four runs after the first inning.

Ma. Waldron, who pitched a no-hitter all the way up until the final inning in Monday’s game against Papillion-La Vista South, was on the mound again for the Warriors against Grand Island. Grand Island scored one run in the bottom of the first on a single that advanced the runner on second base home, and they ended the inning with one run and three hits.

In the second inning, Stueck hit a sacrifice fly to right field that brought in Meyers for his second run of the evening, which brought the Warriors’ score up to 5-1. Then, M. Hagan hit a fly ball to center to bring in senior Drew Fitzmorris for the run, putting Westside ahead of Grand Island, 6-1.

In hopes of finding some relief in the inning, Grand Island replaced its pitcher with Cedric Moreno with two outs in the inning and two runs already scored. After the change, junior Will Patterson popped a fly ball out to center for the final out of the top of the second.

In the bottom of the second inning, Grand Island catcher Phoenix Stevenson hit a single, scoring two to make the score 6-3 with two outs in the inning. A fly ball by Grand Island ended the second inning, and Grand Island’s scoring.

In the fourth inning, junior Alex Nielsen drove a hit out to left field to bring in Fitzmorris for the run, and in the sixth inning Meyers scored on a double hit by Stueck for his third run, and Stueck scored on an RBI single by M. Hagan for his second run, which put the Warriors lead at 9-3.

In the seventh inning, Grand Island tried to fight back into the game, as they pulled out a run from a throwing error, moving the score to 9-4, but Ma. Waldron got a strikeout for the final out of the game, leading the Warriors to their 9-4 win over Grand Island and their third win of the state tournament.

Although this was Westside’s first time playing Grand Island this year, Meyers said that the team didn’t do anything differently in the game against this newly-faced team.

As for their status of being the only undefeated team left in the tournament, the coaches are doing a good job of keeping the team grounded and not too far ahead of itself.

“It is tough to not look ahead and try to already claim the title,” Meyers said. “But our coaches are doing a good job of taking one game at a time.”

The Warriors will play Wednesday, May 21 at 4 p.m. at Sherman field in Lincoln against Millard West, the No. 3 seed with one loss. Westside will play in the championship game Thursday, May 22, regardless of the outcome of the Wednesday game. If the Warriors win today, however, they will have two games to try to claim a title (if they lose, there will only be one game on Thursday).