Photo Showcase: Millard North 3, Papillion-La Vista South 2
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A new champion will be crowned this season at the Class A state baseball tournament.
Millard North took care of that.
Senior Parker Korbitz belted a walk-off RBI single in the seventh inning Monday night to lift the Mustangs to a 3-2 win over Papillion-La Vista South in the A-4 district final. The win sends Millard North (25-7) to the state tourney and ends the season for the two-time defending state champion Titans.
“That was a great game,” Mustangs coach Dave Cork said. “We played a lot of close games like this during the season, so I didn't really sense any panic among our guys.”
It was a tough way to go out for Papio South, which surrendered the tying run in the sixth before Korbitz's run-scoring single in the seventh. The 17-12 Titans will miss the state tournament for the first time since 2007.
“We had our opportunities, but we left some runs out on the field,” Papio South coach Bill Lynam said. “And they got that one big run in the seventh to win it.”
The Titans led 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth, but the Mustangs put together a two-out rally to tie the game. Dallas Schramm walked and Joe Dugan followed with his second run-scoring double of the game, plating pinch-runner Tyler Roth.
Papio South had a chance to recapture the lead in the top of the seventh, putting runners on second and third with one out. But one runner was thrown out at the plate after a grounder off the bat of Curtis Bussard, and Albert Johnson flew out to center field to end the inning.
“We had the guys up that we wanted,” Lynam said. “We just didn't get the big hit when we needed it.”
Millard North then went to work in the bottom of the seventh against Titans starter Bussard, who had yielded just four hits through six innings.
Dylan Roth drew a leadoff walk but was erased at second base when Steven Price's attempted sacrifice bunt was handled by Bussard. Price then stole second as Shayne Kelly struck out, putting the winning run in scoring position with two outs.
That spelled the end for Bussard, who had thrown 115 pitches. Lynam called on reliever Nate Everett to face Korbitz, the Mustangs' leadoff batter who was hitless against Bussard.
Korbitz lined a clean single to center field, scoring Price and ending the Titans' season.
“It was a fastball, a little bit in,” Korbitz said. “We really wanted to win this game because we didn't want to worry about getting a wild-card spot.”
The game was scoreless after three innings, though Papio South did threaten in the second. The Titans had two runners on base and nobody out but failed to break through against Millard North starter Jake Siadek.
Millard North pushed across a run in the bottom of the fourth inning on Dugan's first RBI double. Papio South then grabbed a 2-1 lead in the fifth after two-out singles by Josh Kiger and Sam Palensky and Bussard's two-run single to right-center field.
Dugan's second RBI double in the sixth tied the game, setting the stage for the dramatic seventh.
“We're happy to be going back to state,” Cork said. “We had to beat a really good team to do it.”
Senior Cody Houdesheldt picked up the win in relief for the Mustangs while Bussard was the hard-luck loser.
“We gave it our all,” Lynam said. “It just wasn't quite good enough.”
Papillion-LVS (17-12) ..... 000 020 0—2 8 0
Millard North (25-7) ..... 000 101 1—3 5 1
W: Houdesheldt. L: Bussard. 2B: MN, Dugan 2.
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