- CLASS B STATE BASEBALL: Helman's 9 K's Stymie Skutt
By Jeff Motz
Striking out nine batters is still an impressive feat at any level of baseball.
But pitcher Michael Helman nearly had a no-hitter, until he gave up a hit, as Lincoln Pius X defeated Omaha Skutt 6-1 in the winner's bracket quarterfinals of the Class B State Baseball Tournament Monday night at Haymarket Park.
Helman's nine Ks was fitting enough to keep Pius X (18-6) at 2-0 in the tournament and set up a showdown with 2-0 Elkhorn South (22-5) Tuesday at 7pm at Haymarket Park.
Skutt had trouble battling with Helman at the plate. When Mojo Hagge reached on a throwing error from Pius X shortstop Spencer Scheer, the next nine SkyHawk batters were retired by Helman.
Offensively, Pius X got a pair of RBI singles from Nolan Hakel and Brock Wordekemper to jump out to a 2-0 lead after the first inning. Skutt got its only run in the fourth when Scheer committed another throwing error to first and a routine fly ball was dropped by Pius X rightfielder Nick Albridge.
The Thunderbolts, though, were phased by those mistakes. They rounded up three more runs in the bottom of the fourth after getting a single, sacrifice bunt and four walks. Hake scored off a wild pitch and bases loaded walks from Derek Kolbush and Colton Abendroth brought in a pair of runs.
Helman's no hitter was spoiled in the top of the sixth when he gave up a lead-off single to Skutt's Jarrett Damewood. Pius X added another run in the bottom half of the inning and Helman went the distance to earn his fourth win of the season.