ELKHORN—The RVR Bank Post 20 Reserves got a modicum of revenge against Elkhorn North Sunday night in the semifinals of Class B Reserve State Tournament by knocking off the Wolves 8-6.
“We lost to them twice earlier this season and we didn’t play good baseball,” said RVR Bank Post 20 Reserves coach Camden McKenzie. “I think we had eight or nine errors against them.”
The win moves RVR Bank into the driver’s seat of the tournament as the last remaining unbeaten squad. Whoever advances out of the losers bracket will have to take down Post 20 twice Tuesday night in the finals.
McKenzie, a former state champion with the Fremont American Legion program, credited the groups cohesion as they’ve rattled off nine-straight wins dating back to the regular season.
“The team chemistry, it’s a huge part of every team, but with these kids, it’s different,” he said. “They’ve all got each others backs and they all want to play for each other. It’s an atmosphere where we can be successful.”
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Each side put up a run in the opening frame, which would account for all of the scoring until the fifth.
Ryan Koenig lead-off the game with a single then score two batters later on a sacrifice fly by Max Cooper.
Alex Kruse kept Elkhorn North to just a single run in the bottom of the frame, throwing out a runner at third from his spot in right field to end the inning on a double play.
Austin Cash broke the 1-1 tie for RVR Bank in the top of the fifth, lining a single to the right field gap with the bases loaded, plating a pair.
Elkhorn North countered with three runs in the bottom of the frame to retake the lead, 4-3.
RVR Bank regained the lead for good in the sixth, putting up three runs on three hihts.
Will Schleicher and Cooper knocked back-to-back doubles to tie the game then take the lead.
Easton Cyza followed with a single to extend the lead to 6-4.
RVR Bank added two more runs, which would ultimately be the deciding factor in the win, in the top of the seventh, scratching the pair across on a wild pitch and and RBI groundout by Kruse.
“We just said get them while they’re down,” McKenzie said on his message before the seventh inning. “That’s kind of the mentality we’ve had all year. We haven’t done a good job of it all year, but we did a really good job of just winning an inning tonight.”
Elkhorn North made its final stand in the bottom of the seventh, bringing the tying run to the plate before Kruse, who came on in relief in the fifth, netted a flyout to right to end the game.
RVR Bank Post 20 will play in the state championship game at 5:30 p.m. at Jerry Frerichs Field in Elkhorn Tuesday with the if-neccessary game to follow.