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Norris took a hard one off the chin, saw a left fielder run through the bullpen, sweated through through seven innings with little-used pitching and bounced off the canvas to win.

Norris first baseman Joel Benes took a hot one-hop grounder off the chin but recovered for the final out to help Norris hold off Omaha Roncalli 11-9 Wednesday afternoon in the Class B state baseball tournament at Haymarket Park.

Norris (21-7) needed the victory to stay alive while Roncalli, despite the loss, advances to Thursday's 1 p.m. championship game.

Norris, which won a cliffhanger Tuesday and survived Wednesday, will face Hastings at 10 a.m. Thursday, with the winner facing Roncalli.

Hastings rallied for four runs on four hits and two errors in the seventh inning to nab a 7-5 victory over Elkhorn.

For Norris, the chance to play more baseball is the goal.

"Sleep well, get something good to eat, relax," Norris coach Sean Bartholomew told his team.

He expressed deeper feelings during interviews.

"I'm 31 years old and after these last two days I feel twice that at least," he said. "They don't worry like I do. If you hadn't seen some plays, you probably saw them in our last two games.

"It was a wild and crazy game."

The Titans jumped to a 10-6 lead with key hits by Cade Kohout, who provided the game winner against Omaha Skutt on Tuesday, and Austin Schultz, who hit a two-run bloop single. Two bunts and singles by Caden Argo and Sayre Burnley helped spark a four-run fifth inning.

Roncalli (17-5) scored five runs on four hits, including a two-out triple by Justin Niederle, in the sixth.

Norris reliever Schultz walked two with one out. He got a force at second and saw Benes make the clinching play.

"Austin (who had two hits, two RBIs, two stolen bases and scored two runs) came to me and said he'd be ready to do anything to win," said Bartholomew. "That shows what a team leader is.

"This is a team of fighters. We just don't make things easy -- we make it extremely interesting, you might say."

Schultz, a Kentucky signee who hadn't thrown this season, finished off a game that saw seldom-used Kohout, Colson Hesterman and Tyler Monroe survive a powerful Roncalli lineup.

"I was just throwing fastballs and the other guys were competing the best they could and we made enough plays to keep playing," Schultz said. "We've been in the finals two of the last three years. We're going to make it happen again."

In its game against Hastings, Elkhorn took a 5-3 lead with four runs in the fifth on five hits and an error and added a run on a misplay in the sixth.

Four of the first five batters for Hastings singled in the top of the seventh and a pair of sacrifice bunts, plus an error and a sacrifice fly, plated four runs.

Connor Laux, a three-time state wrestling champion, earned the win, pitching the final two innings.


Roncalli 010 305 --12 
Norris 300 341 --11 12 1

W--Kohout. L--Lemmon. S--Schultz. 2B--OR, Silvain. 3B--OR, Niederle.


Hastings 030 000 --
Elkhorn 000 041 --

W--Laux. L--Crampton.


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