Logan McGill and Creighton Silvain got just what they expected.
McGill laced a two-out, full-count fastball over the third baseman to drive in a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and lift Omaha Roncalli to a 5-4 victory over Norris on Thursday at Haymarket Park in the Class B state championship game.
"It was full count and I was expecting fastball and that's what I got," said McGill. "So I swung the bat and let everything else play out."
Which was no surprise to Silvain, who gave up just one earned run in going the distance on the mound for the top-ranked Crimson Pride.
"I was pumped when we tied it up. It just sparked our team. From there, I just knew we were going to win. I expected it," Silvain said, even though Norris regained the lead the next inning. "It was only one run and I knew my team would come up big for me.
"Playing five games in six days is hard. Toward the end, my arm was gassed out a bit, but I was just trying to grind it out for my teammates."
Norris, which advanced with an 11-0 win over Hastings earlier in the day, took a 3-0 lead with single runs in the first, third and fourth innings. Roncalli tied it up in the fifth before the Titans went up 4-3 in the sixth. Cade Kohout walked, stole second and came home on an error.
Norris started Cullen Papenhagen got an out before Alex Rodgers singled and Max Anderson and Tommy Alitz both walked in the seventh. The Titans had to make a pitching change because Papenhagen hit the 110-pitch cutoff, bringing Colbey Behrends on in relief. He got a force at the plate before McGill's heroics.
"We put him in a tough situation and their kid made a play," Norris coach Sean Bartholomew said. "You have to make plays to win games like this. We didn't make a couple. I don't know if it was nerves or we just couldn't execute, but I think nerves had a hand in that."
Norris jumped on top in the first when Austin Schultz reached on an error and came around to score on a double by Zach Argo. In the third, Sayre Burnley stroked an RBI singled after Schultz legged out a double. The third run came when Joe Osborn and Tyler Ruhl both singled in the fourth. With two outs, Gavin Dowding's grounder to short bounced away, allowing Osborn to score.
Roncalli tied the game in the fifth, capitalizing on a cavalcade of Norris errors for three unearned runs. With one out, Justin Niederle singled. An error while trying to hurry for a double play gave the Crimson Pride a pair of runners. Another miscue allowed Niederle to score and when Norris threw the ball into the outfield, Rodgers came home. Noah Rheinheimer singled in the tying run before Norris got a double play to end the uprising.
"That's a really good team and Papenhagen pitched really well," said Roncalli coach Jake Hoover. "We were fortunate as the game went on, we kind of got to him and he got tired and we got better counts to hit in."
This was Norris' third trip to the title game in the last four years. The Titans' only championship came in 2012.
"I've been with this senior class four years. I came in their freshman year," said Bartholomew. "I just wish one of them would have gone a little differently."
Winning the first state title for the Crimson Pride since 1981 had Hoover a bit giddy.
"It wouldn't be fair if we made errors and they didn't make any," he said with a laugh. "Baseball is all about fairness. It's how the baseball gods want it."
Argo struck out nine, and Burnley went 3-for-5 in the Titans' win against Hastings earlier in the day.
"I'm always nervous until I settle in. But my guys get runs for me and all the weight in the world comes off my shoulders," Argo said. "I knew my pitch count was up there. But I'm glad I got to finish my high school career (pitching) on a strikeout. To be surrounded by all my buddies, it's pretty special."