LINCOLN — Jeff Hayden had some simple advice for the Fremont Bergan baseball team following a 2-0 loss Monday night to Millard West in the Class A state tournament.
“We just have to fight, that is the biggest thing,” the veteran Bergan coach said. “We have to have each other’s backs and we have to fight. I know that they will do that because they have done it all year long. We simply have to come out and play like there is no tomorrow because there isn’t one.”
The Knights showed plenty of fight Wednesday to stay alive in the tournament. Brody Sintek threw a complete game three-hitter and struck out eight to help the Knights down Kearney 2-1 at Sherman Field.
The Bearcats took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Brayden Miller singled and stole second. Korbin Rich then singled to right-center field to give Kearney the advantage.
That was it for Kearney’s highlights as Sintek was efficient.
The Wayne State recruit didn’t walk a batter and threw 65 of his 80 pitches for strikes.
“He has an above-average fastball and he threw a lot of strikes,” Kearney coach Brad Archer said. “He got on top of hitters and was also able to throw his curveball for strikes. We helped him a bit, too, by swinging at some first-pitch curveballs that weren’t strikes.”
The Knights struggled to generate anything offensively against Kearney’s Noah Carpenter until the fifth inning.
Jackson Gilfry led off with a single and moved to second on Dawson Glause’s sacrifice bunt. Dillon Dix singled Gilfry home and advanced to second on an error on the play by left fielder Sam Engberg.
Austin Callahan, who had singled in his previous two at-bats, made it 3-for-3 with a RBI double to center.
Eli Herink, Brennan Callahan and Mitchell Glause also had hits for the Knights, who improve to 16-5.
Millard West gamePreston Menicucci of the Wildcats outdueled Dix on Tuesday night at Haymarket Park.
Menicucci threw a four-hit shutout while striking out three. Dix took the hard-luck loss. He threw a complete game five-hitter while striking out five.
The Wildcats only runs came via an inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the first inning from Max Anderson. The Texas A&M recruit drilled a deep shot to center to score Kyan Lodice,who singled prior to Anderson’s at-bat.
Dix was disappointed with the outcome, but he was pleased with the fight his team showed during the night.
“Obviously I would like that pitch back. He crushed it pretty good and it was a mistake, no doubt,” the senior said. “But overall I couldn’t have asked for a better team behind me. They played great defense. They made all the plays and they battled to the end.”
Hayden was impressed with how Dix pitched against an impressive Millard West attack.
“I liked the fact that he competed from pitch one. The first inning didn’t start out quite how we scripted it but he kept competing well,” Hayden said. “He kept on executing pitches when he needed to. It is tough to lose a game like that when he really pitched well enough for us to win but we came up short. We win and lose as a team and we have to stay together through everything.”
Bergan’s four hits came via singles from Herink who had two, Sintek, and Dix. The Knights also drew six walks from Menicucci.
“Our guys went out and competed hard and I was very pleased with the level of intensity and effort they showed today,” Hayden said. “We just need to make a few more plays and get a few more timely hits and we very well could’ve been the team that came out on top.”