OMAHA — The baseball fortunes can apparently turn quickly, or at least overnight, for No. 3 Lincoln Southwest.
A seven-run rally on Friday evening propelled the Silver Hawks into Saturday’s Frank Ryan Invitational championship at Millard West, but a seven-run inning they surrendered would ultimately be their demise.
Southwest held a 5-1 lead over No. 1 Millard West as the teams entered the bottom of the fifth when Millard West exploded for seven runs in the inning to take an 8-5 lead. West's bullpen stepped up, just as the Southwest's had the night before during the team’s rally, and the Wildcats (12-0) claimed the tournament title with an 8-7 win.
“It’s huge (to win this tournament) because Elkhorn has a great team, Millard North are our rivals, and then to play an undefeated team like Southwest today, it’s a huge win,” Millard West coach Steve Frey said. “They’re always one of the top teams in the state, so to come from behind and win it like we did, it’s just great for the kids. They now know they’re never out of a game.”
A 4-0 lead, highlighted by a three-run home run by Treyton Randall, had the Silver Hawks (7-1) looking like tournament champions early on, especially with the start Dane Gebers had working through four innings.
With the team trailing 5-1 in the bottom of the fifth, the Millard West bats went to work. West brought 10 hitters up to plate as clutch hits and Southwest mistakes allowed the inning to roll on.
Texas A&M recruit Max Anderson delivered the crucial blow to tie the game with a two-run home run before Jackson Meier ripped a two out, two-run single into right to give the Wildcats the lead for good. An error in the outfield on Meier’s single allowed the ultimate winning run to score.
“Millard West is a good team, obviously, and we just didn’t defend the ball very well today,” Southwest coach Mitch Vernon said. “We made some mistakes and that really hurt us, but we’ll see how we bounce back now.”
The Silver Hawks made four errors, but the tying run still came to the plate in the top of the seventh after a Cameron Sartori two-run home run. It would be the last offense of the day, though, and the Wildcats closed it out one out later.