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.”
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.
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.
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Week 40: Aurora's Caleb Badura blew through the Class B state tournament at Quail Run in Columbus, a par-72 course where he shot rounds of 72 and 70, after overcoming severe flareup of Crohn’s disease. He was 3-under for his final seven holes to finish 2-under for the 36 holes. Click here to read the full story.
Week 39: Omaha Roncalli's Logan McGill lined a fastball over the third baseman’s head and into the left-field corner to bring home the tying and winning runs in the Class B state championship game. Click here to read the story.
Week 38: Elkhorn South's Alex Nelson broke the record for the fastest electronically timed 200 in state history with a 21.30 at the A-1 district meet. Click here to read the story.
Week 37: In a district final against Bellevue West, Omaha Creighton Prep's Dylan Phillips threw a one-hitter, retiring the last 15 batters in a 2-0 victory. Click here to read the story.
Week 36: Papillion-La Vista's Hayden Pudenz earned wins in back-to-back golf tournaments and shot 73 both days, marking the third time he’s carded a 73 in his past four tournaments. Click here to read the story.
Week 35: Fullerton's Brent Wetovick was named the most outstanding male performer at the Nebraska Track and Field Festival, where he won the 400-meter dash in 49.34 seconds and the 800 in 1:55.40. Click here to read the story.
Week 34: Gretna's Sarah Weber scored eight goals — including a pair of hat tricks — and had five assists in three wins last week. Click here to read the story.
Week 31: Millard South's Lindsey Prokop tied a Class A record with seven goals in the Patriots' 11-0 win against Omaha North. Click here to read the story.
Week 30: Omaha Burke's Hunter Waugh fired a nine-strikeout 7-1 victory over Omaha Northwest with a five-inning no-hitter — with eight strikeouts — against Castle View (Colo.). Click here to read the story.
Week 29: York's Brady Danielson scored 69 points in three state tournament games, leading the Dukes to a Class B title. Click here to read the story.
Week 28: Quinn Weidemann led Omaha Westside to the Class A state title, averaging 22 points per game in the Warriors' three wins. Click here to read the story.
Week 27: Cooper Prososki scored a career-high 37 points to lead Bennington past Elkhorn South as the Badgers reached the Class B tournament for the third straight year. Click here to read the story.
Week 26: Papillion-La Vista South's Jared Mattley scored 36 points, including nine 3s, in a 70-58 victory over Omaha Northwest. Click here to read the story.
Week 25: Millard North's Nicole Avila-Ambrosi made 12 of 14 shots en route to a career-high 29 points in a win over Lincoln Northeast. She also pulled down seven boards and dished three assists. Click here to read the story.
Week 24: Millard South's Tyrell Carroll had two different double-doubles in a week. He had 23 points and 10 rebounds against Omaha Benson, and three days later posted 18 points and a career-high 13 assists, along with six steals, in a victory over Fremont. Click here to read the story.
Week 23: Millard North's Nick Ferrarini scored a school-record 36 points — on 14 shots — and pulled down nine rebounds in the Mustangs’ 73-66 victory over Omaha Bryan. Click here to read the story.
Week 22: Jaylin Hunter's 30-point performance helped erase an early double-digit deficit against Omaha Central en route to an 80-65 win for Omaha Creighton Prep. Click here to read the story.
Week 21: Isaac Trumble of Millard South tripled Omaha Burke's James Burks' career loss total by beating the two-time state champion twice in a 24-hour span. Click here to read the story.
Week 20: Omaha Brownell Talbot's Josie Petrulis recorded consecutive games of 30-plus points in wins over East Butler and Boys Town. Click here to read the story.
Week 19: Conestoga's Sierra Kile scored 32 points and made all 12 of her free throws in a 59-54 overtime win over Weeping Water. Click here to read the story.
Week 17: Akili Felici scored 41 points, including 11 3-pointers — both school records — in Bellevue West's 67-21 win over Omaha Bryan. Click here to read the story.
Week 16: Blair's Jackson Nielsen swept through the 113-pound division in the Boys Town Invitational, earning MVP honors and helping the Bears to the team title. Click here to read the story.
Week 15: Omaha Burke's Shereef Mitchell capped a career-high 37-point night with a buzzer-beating, game-winning 3-pointer against Omaha Central. Click here to read the story.
Week 14: Colton Feist helped Yutan claim the Class C-2 title by recording 10 tackles, including two for loss, a forced fumble and a tipped pass that resulted in an interception during a 27-6 win over Centennial. Click here to read the story.
Week 13: Emily Bressman, who led state champ Omaha Marian in digs, recorded 29 kills in a four-set victory over Millard North in the Class A title match. Click here to read the story.
Week 12: Jake Archer recorded a school-record 23 tackles and a 35-yard pick-six for Omaha Skutt in a 10-9 Class B semifinal victory over then-undefeated Gretna. Click here to read the story.
Week 11: James Burks helped Omaha Burke rally from a 20-point halftime deficit to a 43-37 win over Millard West in the Class A quarterfinals, totaling 305 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Click here to read the story.
Week 10: Gio Mainor ran 11 times for 141 yards and two touchdowns, helping Omaha Burke advance in the Class A playoffs. Click here to read the story.
Week 9: Jake Ralston became Papillion-La Vista South's first-ever state cross country champion, helping the Titans to their first team title. Click here to read the story.
Week 8: Dylan Plautz guided Omaha Westside's offense to 73 points as it outlasted Bellevue West. He finished with 454 yards and four touchdowns. Click here to read the story.
Week 7: York's Simon Otte ran for 217 yards and two touchdowns in the third quarter of a 51-20 victory over Aurora. He finished with 327 yards and three scores. Click here to read the story.
Week 6: Jerome Barnes ran for seven first-half touchdowns and 305 yards in Papillion-La Vista's 49-26 over Omaha Benson. Click here to read the story.
Week 4: Gretna's Tanner Tierney ran for 280 yards and five touchdowns in the Dragons' 59-14 win over Omaha Roncalli. Click here to read the story.
Week 3: Millard North quarterback Cade Elwood ran for 229 yards and had a Class A record-tying seven touchdowns in a 62-35 win over Papillion-La Vista. Click here to read the story.
Week 2: Wayne's Mason Lee opened a 34-30 win over Boone Central with an 86-yard kickoff return for a TD and caught three TD passes. Click here to read the story.
Week 1: Halle Meister helped get Omaha Roncalli get to the Class B state tournament in volleyball for the first time since 1983. Click here to read the story.