LINCOLN — Fremont Bergan’s bid for a Class A state championship ended Thursday in a tightly-contested elimination game against Millard South.
The Patriots used a safety squeeze bunt in the top of the sixth to score the go-ahead run and down the Knights 7-6. The loss ends Bergan’s season at 16-6 while the Patriots advance to the championship game Friday against Millard West.
The scoring in the game that saw both starting pitchers exit after three innings got started in the top of the second inning. Noah Unzicker and Kutty George hit consecutive singles with Unzicker eventually scoring on Matt Guthmiller’s fielder’s choice grounder.
The Patriots got three more in the third. Singles by Thomas Urban, Tyson Gerdes, and Tremayne Mungin loaded the bases for Noah Greise. Two runs scored as a result of wild pitches by starter Mitchell Glause before Greise singled to make it a 4-0 Patriot lead.
The Knights then responded with a big third inning of their own. Dawson Glause was hit by a pitch to start it. A single by Dillon and an error by center fielder Gerdes allowed Glause to score with Dix moving to third. Austin Callahan then drove in Dix with a single of his own. Senior Eli Herink followed with a RBI triple before scoring on a Brody Sintek single to tie it at 4.
“We really battled all game and all season,” said Sintek, a Wayne State College recruit. “We came to the ballpark and we fought every game for each other. For us seniors, we have played with each other since we were little so it really is a brotherhood. We stuck together all year and I couldn’t be more proud of all of us despite the result not being what we wanted.”
The inning continued with singles by Mitchell Glause and Brennan Callahan helping to give Bergan a 5-4 advantage. Bergan coach Jeff Hayden said the five-run rally showed that the Knights are never out of a game.
“I am very proud of how resilient they were the entire season,” he said. “They really were a close-knit group throughout the entire season and they fought for each other. These kids did this and they did this together. All the credit goes to these guys for making this possible and taking our program to the next step and hopefully we continue to take more steps next season and beyond.”
South regained the lead in the fourth. Gerdes drove in Guthmiller and Jarrett Novak with a two-run single to make it 6-5. The Knights then tied the game once again with a run in the fifth courtesy of a Jackson Gilfry run-scoring single that plated Donnie Mueller.
The Patriots went ahead for good in the top of the sixth. TJ Urban reached on an error, stole second and moved to third on Mungin’s single. Drew Wessel, the No. 3 hitter in the order, then laid down a safety squeeze that brought in Urban.
Mitchell Glause allowed eight hits and six runs (all earned) in three innings. He also struck out two. His counterpart, AJ Locum of the Patriots, yielded five earned runs on seven hits in three innings. He also walked two and struck out three.
Dawson Glause relieved his brother and allowed an unearned run on five hits and three walks in four innings. He struck out one and took the loss.
Braden Cannon worked three innings for the win. He allowed one earned run on three hits and struck out two. Jayden Payne pitched a perfect seventh for the save. He struck out two.
Hayden said this is a season he and the Knights, especially the senior class, will never forget.
“This group really did a lot for this program. They helped take this program to the next level and I couldn’t be more proud of this group for how close they were with each other and how hard they fought for each other,” he said. “This was a very unique and special group and one that I am going to miss going to practice with every day and one that I will remember for a very long time.”
Austin and Brennan Callahan had two hits and one RBI apiece to lead the Knights’ offensive attack.