Errors plague Huskies semifinal, fall to Manhattan, 6-3

In their state semifinal matchup against the Manhattan Indians, four errors cost the Huskies a spot in the state championship game. Junior Max Abramovich dropped his season record to 6-2 with the loss.

Gabe Swartz, Sports Editor

LAWRENCE- After making their way to the state tournament for the first time in a decade, the BVNW baseball program was defeated 6-3 in the state semifinals against Manhattan High Friday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.

Junior Max Abramovich took the mound late Friday morning looking for his seventh victory on the mound to break the all-time single season wins record in BVNW history. In the bottom of the second inning, Abramovich induced a lazy fly ball to center field which uncharacteristically glanced off the glove of sure-handed centerfielder senior Riley Zerni, and allowed Manhattan to score the first run of the game.

The poor Husky defense continued in the bottom half of the third inning when a 2-out ground ball was deflected by junior second baseman Drew Black into centerfield. By the time Zerni picked up the ground ball and lobbed it back into the infield, the Indians led the Huskies 3-0.

After trailing 3-0 after 3 innings of play, the Huskies rallied back in the fourth inning. After junior Josh Fiene and senior Mitchell Bloss each reached base on singles, Black made up for his error with a 2-run double to the center field fence which cut the deficit to 3-2.

It just wasn’t our day today.”

— Corby Lange

In the sixth inning, a 2-out walk by junior Holden Missey set up senior Drake Marker’s RBI triple, which tied the game at 3-3.

“We knew we could come back, just like yesterday,” Marker said. “We never counted ourselves out. We were just trying to keep in it and that’s what we did.”

In the Indians half of the sixth inning, a blooper over the head of Fiene fell just inside the left field line for a leadoff double. Two outs and three batters later, Abramovich found himself with runners on first and third base, and an 0-2 count. Abramovich’s 0-2 fastball was close to a called strike three, but after a flinch, the home plate umpire called ball one. The next pitch out of Abramovich’s right hand was grounded towards shortstop.

On what was a slow rolling ball, freshman Ryan Callahan would of had a close play at first base had he fielded the ball cleanly. He did not. Making his fourth error in two days at the state tournament, and as the ball trickled into left field, the Huskies trailed the Indians, 4-3.

Ultimately, a day’s worth of would’ve, could’ve and should’ves left the Huskies in a 6-3 hole heading to the seventh inning after the fourth error of the afternoon by Marker on a fly ball to left scored two more Manhattan runs. Marker said despite the defensive lapses, he was still proud of the Huskies fight.

“[The errors] hurts,” Marker said. “I’d take physical errors over mental errors any day. Myself, made a big error. [Callahan] made a couple. But like I said, it was the difference in the game, but we still had a chance and that’s all we could ask for.”

Head coach Corby Lange said the physical errors were not something to worry about, as every team would make mistakes in an increased pressure situation at the state tournament.

“I don’t really look at it as the defense didn’t give [Abramovich] enough support”, says Lange, “because we’re a team and we battle our butts off for each other and that’s what we do. When you get to the state tournament, it’s an increased level of competition, and that’s going to force everybody to make mistakes. They made mistakes. Every team here has made mistakes and that’s part of baseball. Not everything always goes perfectly, but, you know what, they battled back every time. We didn’t quit.”

Lange said this Blue Valley Northwest squad, which came up two wins short of the first 6A state baseball championship in BVNW history, was one of his proudest teams.

“They care more about each other than anything else,” Lange said. “It’s one of the greatest groups we’ve been around. Everybody just does their part, they find ways to contribute, and the fact that they can come back says an awful lot about them. And it just wasn’t our day today.”