The clock struck midnight — literally — for American Legion Class A state tournament contender Grand Island Home Federal.
PI Midwest (Omaha Creighton Prep) scored four runs in the ninth inning to pull away for a 5-0 victory in a winners bracket game at Millard West. The third tourney game of the day didn’t end until early Tuesday morning and resulted in the first tourney loss for underdog Home Federal.
Coach Pat Mooney’s squad, which boosted its record to 45-9, is the lone unbeaten team left in the double-elimination event. The two-time defending state Legion champion will play the 52s Patriots (Millard South) on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Home Federal (28-22), which reached the state tourney after being seeded fifth in the six-team area tournament, will try to stay alive in a 4 p.m. elimination game against T. Hurt Construction (Omaha Burke).
PI Midwest nursed a one-run lead throughout much of the game. The team from Prep finally broke through with four in the ninth to put the game away.
“I was finally able to breathe a little bit,’’ Mooney said. “Both pitchers did a nice job and neither team could really get anything going.’’
PI Midwest grabbed the lead in the top of the first by bunching three hits. Alex Allbery led off with a single, went to second on an infield single by Zach Garrett and scored on a run-scoring double by Jason Allbery.
The lead almost grew to 2-0 on the same play but Garrett was thrown out at the plate on a relay throw from shortstop Logan Greenwalt to catcher Phoenix Stevenson.
PI Midwest threatened again in the second when Mike Huelskamp reached third, but Craig Petrich popped out and Alex Hechtner flew out to left.
Home Federal had a chance to score in the third inning, loading the bases with two out. But Wilson struck out Meyer to retire the side.
PI Midwest had another scoring opportunity in the seventh when Kirk Kudlacz led off with a bunt single and Petrich moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt. But Stevenson picked Kudlacz off and Hechtner flew out.
Home Federal got a runner to second base in the bottom of the inning when Greenwalt walked and was able to reach second after Wilson had him picked off. But Wilson got out of the jam by catching Jaden Coen looking.
PI Midwest loaded the bases with one out in the eighth by taking advantage of an error, a walk and an infield single. But Meyer again escaped the jam by catching Mike Emodi looking and getting Huelskamp to ground out to second.
A pivotal point in the game came in the bottom of the eighth when PI Midwest reliever McLaine Jonas came on with two out and two on. He walked No. 9 hitter Tyler Kolar on four pitches to load the bases and then went 3-0 on leadoff hitter Jaden Johnson before battling back to get the inning-ending strikeout.
“That was huge,’’ Mooney said. “I knew if he could just get one strike over that he’d be OK.’’
PI Midwest rode that momentum into the top of the ninth, when it sent nine batters to the plate. Three hits, two walks and an error led to the four runs that put the game out of reach.
“They’re high school kids,’’ Home Federal coach Bryan Frew said. “They want to win so badly, but it kind of slipped away from us tonight.’’
PI Midwest ............ 100 000 004—5 11 0
GI Home Federal ... 000 000 000—0 6 2
W: Wilson. L: Meyer. 2B: PIM, J. Allbery, A. Allbery.
52s Patriots 7, Pinnacle Bank 5
The 52s Patriots (Millard South) rallied for three runs in the ninth inning Monday for a 7-5 win over Pinnacle Bank (Lincoln Southwest) in an elimination game.
The Patriots trailed 5-4 entering the ninth but a bases-loaded walk to Anthony Cloyd tied the game. After Pinnacle turned a double play, Jackson Bruckner belted a two-run single to put the 52s on top.
Reliever Brenden Trout then retired Pinnacle in the ninth to preserve the victory.
52s Patriots ......... 011 002 003—7 10 2
Pinnacle Bank ...... 000 310 100—5 7 0
W: Trout. L: Lovell. 2B: 52s, Foley. 3B: PB, Young.
T. Hurt Construction 8, Roof Tech Wildcats 4
T. Hurt (Omaha Burke) grabbed a four-run lead and never looked back to eliminate host Roof Tech (Millard West).
The Wildcats pulled within 4-1 but Eric Daubach delivered a two-run double in the sixth to extend the lead. Roof Tech pushed across a run in the bottom of the inning but T. Hurt added single runs in the seventh and eighth.
Austin Aspegren went eight innings to pick up the win.
T. Hurt Construction ............... 121 002 110—8 11 2
Roof Tech .............................. 000 101 002—4 12 4
W: Aspegren. L: Staashelm. 2B: TH, Yost, Daubach, Pullen; RT, Stobbe.
Lincoln tourney games postponed by rain
The other half of the Class A state tournament, scheduled to be played at Sherman Field in Lincoln, was postponed Monday by rain.
The tourney will resume Tuesday.