It’s not that Omaha Roncalli coach Jake Hoover was afraid to risk his team’s unbeaten record.

It’s just that Mother Nature has been wreaking havoc on baseball schedules this spring, especially the Crimson Pride’s.

Roncalli won its season opener March 16 then saw its next seven games postponed by inclement weather. Twenty days after that opener, the Crimson Pride defeated then-Class B No. 1 Wahoo 1-0 in nine innings.

Hoover’s squad has played two games, the fewest of any school. But on the bright side, Roncalli is the only unbeaten team left in the state.

“This weather has been special, and I could probably use a lot of other words,” Hoover said. “To just have two games in at this point is pretty crazy.”

The coach said his team has kept busy practicing in the gym, but that’s no substitute for game action.

“We have some guys that we really need to have pitch some innings,” he said. “And I’m still trying to sort out who’s playing where, only because we haven’t played many games.”

Roncalli entered this season with high hopes after capturing the Class B American Legion championship last summer. Mainelli Mechanical Pride defeated Nebraska City in the final as Roncalli won its first Legion title since 2008.

All but two of those Legion players are back this spring and Hoover said the Crimson Pride are intent on making a run at the varsity state tournament, a destination Roncalli hasn’t reached since 2014.

“We feel as though we have a good team,” he said. “I just wish we could get a chance to prove it.”

There are eight returning starters from last year, led by Alex Rodgers. The junior, who has an offer from Nebraska, batted .444 last spring and scored 24 runs.

Other key hitters and their 2017 averages are seniors Logan McGill (.387), Max Anderson (.353) and Tommy Alitz (.283).

Roncalli also returns pitchers Creighton Silvain (1.61 ERA last season) and Nate Gorczyca (2.57 in 2017).

In the victory over Wahoo, Gorczyca struck out 12 and Anderson had the winning RBI in the bottom of the ninth.

Hoover said he hopes the expected warmer weather this week will get his team back on the scheduling track. The Crimson Pride have games set for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.

“Our kids have done a good job of staying focused,” he said. “They’re all hoping to do something special this season for Roncalli.”

Ratings update

During a week when several teams in the Top 10 lost at least once, Millard South maintains its rather precarious hold on No. 1.

The Patriots suffered their first loss against Millard North one day after rallying for four runs in the seventh to defeat Bellevue East 5-2.

Omaha Creighton Prep lost to Lincoln Southeast, Millard West fell to Elkhorn, Elkhorn South lost to Millard West and Lincoln Southwest lost twice.

Fans of Omaha Burke might wonder why the Bulldogs aren’t ranked higher than No. 5, but the meat of Burke’s schedule is still ahead.

In Class B, Norris reclaims the top spot despite a loss to Class A Lincoln Southeast. Roncalli climbs to No. 2 by virtue of its win over previous No. 1 Wahoo.

Tournaments ahead

Several conference tournaments will be held this week, including the Metro Conference.

The Metro tourney’s first round begins Thursday at four sites following a Wednesday night play-in game between Omaha North and Omaha Benson. The semifinals will be Friday at Omaha Westside with the final Saturday at Elkhorn South.

Top games this week

Class A — Monday: Lincoln Southwest at Omaha Roncalli; Omaha Westside at Omaha Burke. Tuesday: Millard West at Millard North; Omaha Westside at Elkhorn South. Tuesday-Saturday: Heartland Athletic Conference tournament. Thursday-Saturday: Metro Conference tournament.

Class B — Monday: Omaha Skutt at Wahoo. Tuesday-Saturday: Eastern Midlands Conference tournament. Wednesday: Omaha Skutt at Omaha Roncalli. Friday: Omaha Concordia at Ralston.

Be the first to know when news happens. Get the latest breaking headlines sent straight to your inbox.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.
0
0
0
0
0

Mike covers high school sports, primarily volleyball in the fall, girls basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring and summer. He also reports on horse racing for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @MPattersonOWH. Phone: 402-444-1350.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.