Dylan Matthews got Pinnacle Bank off to a good start, then added to the fun.
Pinnacle Bank earned a 5-1 victory against Millard Sox Black on Saturday in the Class A American Legion National Division senior state tournament at Omaha Burke. With the victory, Pinnacle advanced to Sunday’s 4 p.m. game against the Omaha Westside-Hastings winner.
Matthews led off the bottom of the first inning with a double. With two outs, Danny Suiter drew a walk before Josh Isherwood slapped an RBI single. Eli Lovell followed with a two-run double to give Pinnacle a 3-1 lead.
“I think leading off with a hit like that, especially after we allowed a run in the top of the first, gives us confidence,” Matthews said. “It helps everyone get a good feel at the plate.
“If we wouldn’t have answered their run fast, it might have gotten us in trouble. But we know it’s a nine-inning game and you don’t panic. We know we have more chances to come back.”
Matthews pushed the lead to 4-1 in the second inning with a solo home run.
“Actually, I thought their outfielder caught it, but it turned out he knocked it over the fence. I’ll take them any way I get them.”
After allowing an unearned run in the first, Gavin Friehauf settled in on the mound for Pinnacle Bank and went the distance for the victory, keeping his pitch count below 110.
“The first inning was a little rough with a throwing error,” Friehauf said. “But then I started throwing strikes because everything was working.
“I could throw my fastball, change or curve on first pitch. It’s nice knowing you can throw anything. I could keep them off-balance by throwing different pitches for first pitch. They couldn’t sit and assume it was going to be a fastball.”
Pinnacle coach Doug Kaltenberger said Friehauf found his rhythm.
“After the first inning, he started well. His pitch count got up a little in the middle innings but then the last three innings, he was very efficient,” Kaltenberger said. “”He could even throw his off-speed pitch down lower in the lineup.”
Pinnacle Bank knocked out 10 hits, but Kaltenberger wasn’t quite as pleased with that aspect of his team’s game.
“We were hitting OK, although some of our situational hitting wasn’t too good. Their pitcher was around the plate,” Kaltenberger said of Millard starter Pat Freeman. “We got some things done early, but we tried to pull everything. He started getting his off-speed stuff in the zone and he tied us in knots later on.”
PAPILLION-LA VISTA SOUTH 15, JUDDS BROTHERS 5 (7 INNINGS): Three big innings cost Judds Brothers in a mercy-rule affair as Papio put together three separate two-out rallies in the American Division state tournament game in Kearney Saturday afternoon.
Jake Placzek got things started with a three-run homer in the bottom of the second that helped put Papio up 5-1. Matt Sefranek added another home run as part of a 3-for-4 day that included three RBIs. Papio teammates Landen Wiesbeck and Ryan Lief each drove in three runs as well, with the latter getting two hits.
Jordan Schroer led Judds at the plate with three hits and three RBIs, and Connor Bool had two hits.
-- Ryly Jane Hambleton
PAPILLION-LV SOUTH 15, JUDDS BROTHERS 5, 7 INNINGS
W--Benes (10-0). L--Rall (4-2). 2B--Judds: Schroer, Rall; Papio: Wiesbeck. 3B--Papio:Lief. HR--Papio: Placzek, Sefranek.
PINNACLE BANK 5, MILLARD SOX BLACK 1
|Millard Sox Black||100||000||000||--||1||4||0|
W--Gavin Friehauf. L--Pat Freeman. 2B--MSB: Winkelman; Pinnacle: Dylan Matthews, Eli Lovell. HR--Pinnacle: Matthews.