LINCOLN — Millard West continued its dominating roll at the Class A state baseball tournament Thursday by posting its fourth straight shutout victory.
The Wildcats eliminated three-time defending state champion Omaha Creighton Prep 5-0 at Haymarket Park behind the five-hit pitching performance of Keyton Barnes. Millard West advances to the championship game Friday in quest of its first state title after seven runner-up finishes since 2000.
“We were able to get a jump on them early,” Millard West coach Steve Frey said. “Another guy threw a big game for us.”
Barnes struck out four and was the recipient of four early runs. Millard West, which has outscored its four tourney foes 19-0, scored one run in the first and three in the second to take charge.
“A lot of my pitches were working for me,” Barnes said. “And as always, my teammates had my back on defense.”
Barnes wiggled out of trouble in the first when the Junior Jays put runners at first and second with one out. He retired the side by getting the next two batters to pop out.
“Getting out of that inning was a huge confidence boost,” Barnes said. “That was really big.”
Millard West went ahead in the bottom of the first when Kyan Lodice drew a first-inning walk off Prep starter C.J. Wolfe and eventually scored on an RBI single by Ryan David.
The Wildcats added three runs in the second on four hits, but the key play was an infield throwing error. That allowed two runs to score, and a third came home on an RBI double by Eric Standish.
Millard West maintained its shutout with strong defense, especially up the middle. Shortstop Max Anderson made several plays, center fielder Garrett Kennedy had two diving grabs and catcher Jackson Meier threw out a runner trying to steal.
“Give them a lot of credit,” Prep coach Pat Mooney said. “Their pitcher kept us off balance and they made every play in the field.”
The Junior Jays had an opportunity in the sixth when Graham Lorenz and Eric Allbery led off with bunt singles. But Nico Sall struck out, Lorenz was caught stealing and Luke Krzemien grounded out.
After Millard West added a run in the bottom of the inning, Prep put two runners on base in the seventh. But Barnes finished off the victory with a fly out and a strikeout, lifting the Wildcats into the final.
“We got as far as we could,” Mooney said. “We had a lot of injuries this year, so I’m extremely proud of what we accomplished.”
The Junior Jays’ elimination means there will be a Class A state champion not named Prep or Omaha Westside for the first time since Papillion-La Vista South won in 2011. Prep has won four titles since then, and the Warriors have won three.
Barnes said he hopes the next team to win that championship is Millard West.
“We want it so bad,” he said. “For the team and for our school.”
Om. Creighton Prep (20-12)..........000 000 0—0 5 2
Millard West (27-5)......................130 001 x—5 7 1
W: Barnes. L: Wolfe. 2B: Standish, Gomes.
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Left to right, sitting: Tony Martin, Omaha Burke; Tyler Goodro, Omaha Creighton Prep; Scott Kaskie, Papillion-La Vista; Sam Merrill, Millard North; Connor O'Neill, Omaha Westside; Kevin Dooley, Papillion-La Vista; Matt Bowers, Omaha Roncalli; Dustin Koca, Omaha Westside. Kneeling: Jared Erspamer, Millard South; Tim Huber, Omaha Creighton Prep; Ryan Wehrle, Papillion-La Vista. Standing: Drew Schwab, Omaha Westside; Steve Winkelmann, Omaha Gross.
Clockwise from upper left: Omaha Westside's Tyler Knust, Omaha Burke's Tony Martin, Omaha Burke's Erik Bird, Millard South's Derrick Kendrick, Millard North's Robbie Knight, Millard North's Conor Gillaspie, Omaha Central's David Cleveland, Millard North's Jason Jewell, Millard West's Jon Reed, Omaha Westside's Darin Ruf, Millard North's Sam Merrill, Omaha Westside's Sam Murphy, Bellevue East's Tyler Cloyd and Omaha Skutt's Zach Herr.
Front row (from left), Bobby Lackovic, Omaha Skutt; Bryant Cotton, Omaha Central; Shaun Hoover, Millard West; Sam Murphy, Omaha Westside; Marcus Palimenio, Omaha Westside; Mark Waldron, Omaha Creighton Prep. Back row, Charlie Shaver, Elkhorn; Ian Dike, Lincoln Southwest; Kent Urban, Lincoln Northeast; Danny Hunter, Papillion-La Vista; Casey Hauptman, Millard South; Wyatt Kirwan, Omaha Westside; Pat Krebs, Omaha Creighton Prep. Not pictured, Brandon Kirsch, Papillion-La Vista South.
Standing (left to right, clockwise), John Reiss, Papillion-La Vista; Mark Waldron, Omaha Creighton Prep; Casey Hauptman, Millard South; David Hulsebus, Millard West; Ben Kline, Omaha Central; Kent Urban, Lincoln Northeast; Ty Kildow, Millard South; Kash Kalkowski, Grand Island; Jonas Dufek, Millard West; and Matt Freeman, Elkhorn. Sitting (left to right, clockwise) are Zach Willand, Papillion-La Vista South; Travis Parker, Lincoln Northeast; Drew Daubman, Omaha Westside; and Taylor Weisbeck, Papillion-La Vista.
First row, from left: Millard West's Steve Jensen, Omaha Gross' Brandon Winkelmann, Millard South's Ty Kildow, Grand Island's Kash Kalkowski, Millard North's Brett Koehn, Millard North's Blake Brisson and Lincoln North Star's Jake Benne. Second Row, from left: Ralston's Derek Landis, Omaha Creighton Prep's Derek Nelson, Omaha Creighton Prep's Joe Holtmeyer, Omaha Creighton Prep's Zane Hinkel, Papillion-La Vista South's Kendall Wehrle, Lincoln Southeast's Jake Kuebler and Lincoln Southeast's Josh Scheffert.
Back row from left, are Millard West's Brandon Bass, Millard West's Tyler Niederklein, Omaha Westside's Chris Williams, Columbus' Kurt Farmer, Lincoln Southeast's Josh Scheffert, Lincoln Southwest's Adam Peters, and Omaha Bryan's Aaron Beil. Front row from left are Creighton Prep's Mike Pritchard, Omaha Creighton Prep's Ryan Briggs, Nebraska City's Logan Ehlers, Omaha Westside's Jory Goldstrom, Millard South's Ty Kildow, Omaha Northwest's Kyle Kinman, and Papillion-La Vista South's Brian Donohoe.
Kneeling, left to right: Reed Svoboda, Lincoln Northeast; Kyle Kruger, Millard West; Mike Siwa, Om. Burke; Albert Johnson, Papillion-La Vista South; Cody Kottich, Om. Bryan; Brett Bass, Millard West. Standing left to right: Logan Ehlers, Nebraska City; Mike Pritchard, Om. Creighton Prep; A.J. Ladwig, Millard West; Caleb Palensky, Papillion-La Vista South; John Sorensen, Papillion-La Vista; Brad McKewon, Millard South; Joey Jones, Papillion-La Vista; Paul Rosales, Om. Gross.
From left top row: Justin Paul, Papillion-La Vista South, Albert Johnson, Papillion-La Vista South, Kyle Kubat, Om. Creighton Prep, Nate Griep, Millard West, Tanner Lubach, Lincoln Southwest, A.J. Ladwig, Millard West, Tyler Lane, Papillion-La Vista South, Casey Gillaspie, Millard North, Adam Morey, Millard West. Bottom row from left: Blake Headley, Millard South, Taylor Doggett, Lincoln Southeast and Quentin Urban, Millard South.
Back row, left to right: Jordan Schroer, Lincoln Northeast; Taylor Elman, Omaha Creighton Prep; Nate Griep, Millard West; Casey Sayles, Omaha North. Second row: Matt Warren, Omaha Skutt; Brayden Young, Lincoln Southwest; Marcus Ethen, Millard West. Third row: Danny Regan, Millard South; Kevin Connolly, Omaha Creighton Prep; Jack Wilson, Millard North; Jake Placzek, Papillion-La Vista. Front row: Austin Groth, South Sioux City; Danny Suiter, Lincoln Southwest; Colby McPike, Lincoln Northeast.
Front row, from left: Papillion-La Vista South's Josh Kiger; Millard West's Ryan Merrill; Millard South's Jake Huscroft; Lincoln North Star's Tyler Coufal; Wahoo's Quinn McGill; Omaha North's Brendan Jensen; Omaha Creighton Prep's Jeff Albrecht. Back row, from left: Omaha Westside's Mike Waldron; Norris' Jakson Reetz; Lincoln East's Jake Hohensee; Waverly's Sam Tewes; Lincoln Southwest's Brayden Young; Norris' Byron Hood; Omaha Westside's Jake Meyers.
Clockwise from left: Omaha Skutt's Jake Barton, Papillion-La Vista South's Grant Suponchick, Norris' Byron Hood, Omaha Creighton Prep's Dillon O'Doherty, Omaha Westside's Mike Waldron, Omaha Roncalli's Alec Bohm, Lincoln Pius X's Michael Helman, Omaha Westside's Devin Stueck, Bellevue West's Cole Patterson, Lincoln North Star's Brook Bolles, Norris' Jakson Reetz, Millard West's Logan Jacik, Omaha Westside's Jake Meyers and Omaha Westside's Drew Fitzmorris.
From left, Seward’s Ben Klenke, Papillion-La Vista’s Jack Kalina, Papillion-La Vista South’s Grant Suponchick, Papillion-La Vista’s Grant Van Scoy, Lincoln Pius X’s Michael Helman, Omaha Westside’s Matt Waldron, Southwest’s Logan Foster, Omaha Westside’s Mike Waldron, Millard West’s Cole Stobbe, Omaha Westside’s Alex Nielsen, Millard North’s Bryce Rogokos, Elkhorn’s Drew Smith and Millard South’s Nate Mallott.
Back row (left to right): Brett Vosik, Creighton Prep; Cole Stobbe, Millard West; Brandon Bena, Creighton Prep; Spencer Lear, Millard West; Zach Argo, Norris; Joey Machado, Creighton Prep; Nick Nelsen, Blair. Front row: Calvin Rudolph, Millard South; Wyatt Divis, Lincoln Northeast; Jacob Uhing, Elkhorn; Logan Foster, Lincoln Southwest; Jonah Ulane, Millard South; Mojo Hagge, Omaha Skutt; Drew Smith, Elkhorn.
Front row, from left: Austin Schultz, Norris; Shay Schanaman, Grand Island; Dylan Phillips, Creighton Prep; Drew Gilin, Millard South; Josh Culliver, Creighton Prep; and Isaiah Peterson, Lincoln Southwest. Back row, from left: Perry, Millard South; Max McGuire, Lincoln Southwest; Joe Roecker, Elkhorn; Cam Taylor, Bellevue West; Colby Gomes, Millard West; Noah Sacco, Millard North; Nick Henrichs, Omaha Westside; Garrett Kocis, Millard West.
From left: Lincoln Southeast's Logan Van Treeck, Roncalli's Alex Rodgers, Omaha Burke's Hunter Waugh, Creighton Prep's Dylan Phillips, Millard West's Colby Gomes, Creighton Prep's Owen Richter, Millard South's Kyle Perry, Creighton Prep's Evan Laney, Elkhorn South's Will Reetz, Norris' Zach Argo, Grand Island's Shay Schanaman, Norris' Austin Schultz, Grand Island Cole Evans and Millard South's Drew Gilin.