OMAHA — It was only fitting that it began raining in the seventh inning Tuesday, because a Millard South deluge of runs washed Anderson Ford out of the American Legion Class A American Division state baseball tournament at Creighton Prep.
The Patriots put an exclamation point on a 19-2 victory with eight runs in the top of the seventh after both teams had cleared their benches. After Anderson Ford (Lincoln North Star) won their first two games of the tournament over Papillion-La Vista South and Elkhorn, they saw their season end in lopsided losses to Fremont and Millard South the last two days.
“I don’t want our guys to remember the season on the scores of the last two games, but rather focus on the effort it took to get to this point,” Anderson Ford assistant coach Rich Bishop said. “I might be disappointed with the score, but I’m proud of the effort they’ve shown the last two weeks.”
Anderson Ford finished 23-18 in the summer after a 9-15 high school season in the spring.
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“The 10 seniors who came out this summer weren’t satisfied with what happened in the spring and they worked hard to turn it around,” Bishop said. “They should be proud of what they accomplished in terms of moving the program forward.”
Four Anderson Ford pitchers surrendered 16 Millard South hits, five of which were doubles. They were not helped by five Anderson Ford errors behind them.
Noah Unzicker put the Patriots ahead to stay with a two-run single in the first inning, then helped blow it open with an RBI double, part of a three-run fourth inning.
The Patriots put up four runs in the third with Jaydon Folkers’ two-run double being the big blow. Two more runs in the fifth stretched the lead to 11-2. The eight runs in the final inning came on six hits and three Anderson Ford errors.
Anderson Ford continued to swing hot bats, registering nine hits (at least one every inning), with Peyton Meier’s 4-for-4 performance (all singles) pacing the offense. Anderson Ford scored a single run in the second on an RBI single by Conner Erickson and another in the fourth after a Matt Bailey single drove home Justin Lottman, who had tripled.
“We hit the ball, we just couldn’t string enough together to score runs,” Bishop said. “Depth is important when you get to this stage, and you can tell Millard South has a lot of talented players they can put out there. We needed to pitch better and play better defense.”
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