Extra inning rally gives Huskies 3-2 win over Cougars

The varsity baseball team defeated Shawnee Mission Northwest, 10-3 in a non-conference matchup at 3 & 2 Stadium Friday April 27. Sophomore Ryan Callahan went 3-for-4 with the game-winning RBI.

Gabe Swartz, Editor-in-chief

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning of the Huskies matchup with Shawnee Mission Northwest, senior Max Abramovich stepped foot on the mound at 3 & 2 Stadium. He replaced senior Scott Duensing, who spent his birthday night toying with SMNW hitters all night long.

Nearly a week after dominating Summit Christian Academy to the tune of eight strikeouts in a complete-game effort, Duensing dominated in a different way. The senior left-hander began his Friday night start with a five-pitch first inning and continued that trend in an efficient night by getting soft, early contact from the Cougar hitters he faced.

“I’d say the difference was I wasn’t really locating my curveball down in the zone as well as I was on Saturday,” Duensing said. “And credits to them. They’re a good hitting bunch, they can really hit that first pitch curveball.”

Duensing exited after pitching five and two thirds innings of one run ball, but left Abramovich in a tight spot with runners on first and third base for his first relief appearance of the season.

“It’s always a different mindset, it’s hard swapping from starter to closer, but I mean I just kept kind of the same routine and shortened it a little bit and then just went into the game,” Abramovich, who threw six straight balls to start his relief appearance, said. “I didn’t start out well, but I trusted the guys because our bats are insane.”

Abramovich ended up walking in the tying run, but escaped the bases-loaded jam by inducing a ground ball to senior second baseman Drew Black to get out of the inning. After a quiet top half of the seventh, and clean bottom of the inning, the Huskies headed to extra innings tied at 2 apiece.

On a night where the bats were a bit quieter than in previous days– the Huskies scored 10 runs against Blue Valley West Tuesday and 12 runs against Blue Valley North Thursday– the Huskies offense showed up in the clutch in the top of the eighth inning. The Huskies sophomore leadoff man Matt Miller reached base via a hit by pitch, and after advancing to second base on a delayed steal, Miller watched as fellow sophomore Ryan Callahan strode into the batter’s box.

On the first pitch of Callahan’s at-bat, the sophomore shortstop drilled a fly ball down the left field line.

“I knew I was going to wait and get my pitch,” Callahan said, “and I found my pitch and I squared it up.”

As Callahan’s fly ball flew toward the left field corner, the only question was whether the ball would stay fair so that Miller could score from second base. It did, and Miller slid in just before the throw home arrived, giving the Huskies a 3-2 lead.

“I was just thinking when I saw coach sending me home I was just thinking like run fast,” Miller said.

After Miller slid into home with the go-ahead run, Callahan celebrated by pretending to unleash a pokeball in the direction of the dugout. With the one-run cushion in the bottom of the eighth inning, Abramovich was able to nail down the win. It was his fourth of the season, and the Huskies 10th.

On Tuesday, senior Josh Fiene produced 4 RBI against Blue Valley West. Thursday, it was junior Sean Roseborough going 4-for-4 with a grand slam and 7 RBI. On Friday night in Lenexa it was Callahan delivering with the double in the eighth inning. In a week in which the Huskies brought the offensive firepower to the DAC en route to a three-win week, Callahan said it was a week that showed anyone in the lineup could have a big day.

“I mean it’s phenomenal,” Callahan said. “Every guy on this team can produce from the lineup 1-9, everybody gets their pitch, everybody has great at-bats, and whenever I’m in the dugout, whenever I’m in the field, there’s no doubt in my mind that everybody’s going to play to their best.”

Blue Valley Northwest travels to Bishop Miege to take on the Stags Tuesday April 31 at 4:45 p.m.