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State Legion baseball: Bellevue West survives and advances for the third time

State Legion baseball: Bellevue West survives and advances for the third time

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OMAHA โ€” For the third time, Bellevue West staved off elimination at the American Legion state tournament.

Pitcher Jack Bland made sure of that Tuesday night.

He tossed a three-hitter to lead the Thunderbirds to a 2-1 win over Creighton Prep at Omaha Westside. The victory kept Bellevue West (52-3) alive for the final day of the double-elimination event.

"Jack was outstanding tonight," coach Jason Shockey said. "He mixed up his three pitches and threw them all for strikes."

It was another must-win game for the Thunderbirds, who lost in Saturday's first round. They bounced back to defeat teams from Omaha Westside and JC Brager before the victory over the Junior Jays.

"I think we're at our best when our backs are against the wall," Bland said. "I'm a do or die guy and that's when I get my best thrill out of baseball."

Creighton Prep (33-15) is still in the driver's seat of the tourney. The Junior Jays will play in the championship game Wednesday at 8 p.m. against the winner of the 5 p.m. game between Bellevue West and Gretna.

"We've gotten great starting pitching the last three days," Shockey said. "We still have some arms left for tomorrow."

Gretna 7, Omaha Burke 5: Connor Cole pitched six strong innings of relief to keep the Dragons alive while eliminating the team from Omaha Burke.

Cole, who took over for starter Jackson Shelburne in the second inning, gave up two runs on six hits in 98-degree weather. He struck out three and walked two.


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