Logan Walters pitched a nice game Thursday night for Lincoln East.
Unfortunately for the Spartans, Millard North’s Drake Donahoe was just a little better.
Donahoe allowed two hits over six innings to help the Mustangs post a 2-1 win in a first-round game of the Millard South/Don Kraft Invitational. The game was moved to Millard North because of an earlier threat of inclement weather.
“That was a well-pitched game by both kids,’’ Millard North coach Dave Cork said. “The wind was blowing in, and neither one gave up too many walks.’’
Millard North squeezed out a run in the third and another in the fourth. East scored its run in the fourth and threatened in the fifth and seventh but couldn’t get it tied.
“Logan was really good for us,’’ Lincoln East coach Mychal Lanik said. “He gave us a chance to win, but we just didn’t do enough with the bats.’’
The Mustangs bunched three hits to go ahead 1-0 in the third. Mark Geiger and Alec Blakestad singled, and Nathan VerMaas followed with an RBI double.
Walters escaped further damage with runners on second and third by striking out Ben Weber and getting Ryan Mendez to pop out.
The Spartans tied it in the fourth with their only two hits off Donahoe. Jeremiah Zimmerman and Braden Sellon singled, Austin Schneider walked and Jack Larson had an RBI groundout.
Millard North reclaimed the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth. Matt Goetzmann reached on an error and scored on a two-out RBI double to left by Cole Nordin.
The drive by Nordin was almost caught by Spartans left fielder Larson, but he couldn’t quite hang on while making a diving attempt.
East had a runner at second base in the fifth but couldn’t get him home. The Spartans also got their leadoff batter on base in the seventh but came up empty.
“It was one of those days when you were trying to grind out a run here or a run there,’’ Cork said. “Drake has been really good on the mound his last couple times out, so that’s good to see.’’
The Mustangs had a few nervous moments in the top of the seventh.
The first came when East’s Caleb Lentz somehow avoided a tag while stealing second base with one out. Reliever Simon Gradoville struck out the next batter, bringing up Carson Kasl.
He lofted a high pop-up that on a normal night would have been an easy out. But the wind played tricks with the ball, and second baseman Geiger needed to make a lunging grab to end the game.
“Simon did a good job of not letting that stolen base bother him,’’ Cork said. “And we work on pop-ups like that all the time, so I was happy we made that play.’’
It was a tough loss for the seventh-ranked Spartans, who already were playing without Grant Deisley. The senior infielder, who was batting .333, fractured his elbow in a game Tuesday night against Omaha Bryan.
“It’s been a rough week,’’ Lanik said. “We’ve played 10 games in 10 days, but we’re going to keep battling.’’
Lincoln East (16-8)..............000 100 0—1 3 1
At Millard North (12-9).........001 100 x—2 7 0
W: Donahoe. L: Walters. S: Gradoville. 2B: MN, VerMaas, Nordin.
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Kraft semifinals set
The semifinals are set for Friday in the Millard South/Don Kraft Invitational.
In the winners bracket, Millard West will play Millard South at 3 p.m. and Omaha Westside will play Millard North at 5:30. In losers bracket games, Lincoln Northeast will play Omaha Creighton Prep at 10 a.m. and Lincoln East will play Papillion-La Vista South at 12:30 p.m.
First-round results Thursday: Millard West defeated Northeast 8-1; Westside beat Papio South 8-4; Millard North defeated Lincoln East 2-1; and Millard South beat Prep 2-1.
The championship game will be played at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.