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State Legion baseball: Fremont keeps the rally cap on, eliminates Carpet Land in National Division
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STATE LEGION BASEBALL

State Legion baseball: Fremont keeps the rally cap on, eliminates Carpet Land in National Division

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It’s time to announce the winners of the 2021 Prep Sports Awards. These high school athletes have had amazing seasons this year and we are proud to celebrate their achievements.

Fremont trailed 3-0 after a pair of innings to Anderson Ford before winning big Sunday. It was down 2-0 after three innings Monday to Omaha Skutt.

On Tuesday, Fremont found itself in a 7-0 hole after two innings to Carpet Land before erasing that and later a 9-8 deficit in the fifth inning to advance to the National Division final of the Class A American Legion state legion tournament at Den Hartog Field.

“I think that is the leadership of our kids,” Fremont coach Jeff Hayden said of his team's 10-9 win. "It shows the veteran club that we have. We have a group of guys that regardless of what happens we are going to keep trying to chip way.

"That was the kids in the dugout getting that (win)."

Brenton Pitt had not thrown a single pitch the entire summer coming into Tuesday after rehabbing an arm injury. But down early, Hayden decided Pitt was the arm that could right the ship.

Pitt, who earned the win, threw 3 1/3 innings, only allowing two runs for Fremont to get back into the game.

“For him to come out and get those (10) outs that he got, that was huge,” Hayden said.

Carpet Land’s early lead came on RBI base hits by Keegan Brink and Ryan Clementi in the first inning. Brink knocked in another to start a five-run second that included a three-run triple by Grant Springer.

Fremont charged ahead with six runs in the fifth inning. Hunter Mueller belted a go-ahead two-run double with two outs. Carpet Land’s Cooper Erikson took the lead right back with an RBI single in the bottom half of the inning with a sacrifice fly.

Fremont loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the sixth on two singles and a hit by pitch. Sam Gifford hit a ball up the middle to center field for the winning run.

Gifford stepped up and recorded the final six outs to complete the comeback win and eliminate Carpet Land. Fremont was outhit 17-11 but took advantage of four costly Carpet Land errors to storm back.

“It was timely hitting,” Hayden said. “That’s what a lot of this game is about… But our job isn’t done yet.”

The Lincoln East squad finished third at the high school state tournament in May and just short again this summer. Through it all, were eight seniors that were cornerstones for a squad that achieved a lot for the program.

“To say goodbye to eight seniors is really hard,” Carpet Land coach Mychal Lanik said. “We are going to miss them like crazy.

“We had a lot of success but it just hurts right now.”

Fremont will play Omaha Skutt at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Fremont needs one win to claim the National Division crown.

Omaha Skutt 19, North Platte 8: Omaha Skutt’s bats matched the heat in Lincoln on Tuesday evening.

Skutt racked up 19 runs on 12 hits to defeat North Platte in an elimination game.

“It’s always a good day to swing the bats like that this late in the season,” Omaha Skutt coach Tim Lackovic said.

Zac Zimmerman blasted a grand slam for Omaha Skutt, and Dylan Brisbois went 3-for-3 with five RBIs and was just a home run short of the cycle. Eight of nine Skutt hitters recorded at least one hit and run.

“That is one of my favorite things about this group,” Lackovic said “Everybody on this team contributes every single day. There are very few 'I' guys on this team. Everyone has a team mentality, and it is paying off for us.”

Zimmerman’s blast was a part of a seven-run second inning after each side scored one in the first. Skutt added three more runs in the third inning on an error and a single by Cade Sudbeck.

North Platte made things interesting in the bottom half of the fourth inning, scoring four to make it 11-7.

Omaha Skutt added eight runs over the fifth and sixth innings to put the game away.

Errors plagued North Platte. The Bulldogs committed six of them, and eight of Skutt’s runs were unearned because of that.

Skutt sat in an almost identical position during the spring season. An elimination-game win over Ralston put it two wins away from the state championship. But Skutt lost its next game against Norris.

The Sky Hawks need two victories Wednesday to win the National Division and advance to the state championship series.

“I feel like this summer all of our guys have gotten a lot more experience,” Lackovic said. “They’ve learned throughout the summer what it takes. They want to go out and compete.”

“I’m really looking forward to tomorrow… I think it will be a different turnout than the spring.”

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