No. 2 Huskies advance to first state final in school history, defeat No. 3 Derby 4-3

The varsity baseball team defeated Derby High School, 4-3 in the state semifinals Friday May 25 at Hoglund Ballpark. Senior Max Abramovich got his eighth win of the season, and Scott Duensing notched his fourth save of the year in the semifinal win.

Ryan Blank

Gabe Swartz, Editor-in-chief

LAWRENCE, Kan. — With his body shaking and a two-run lead, senior Scott Duensing took the mound in the top of the seventh inning looking to send the Blue Valley Northwest Huskies to their first state championship game in school history. A visit from senior third baseman Josh Fiene settled him down and allowed the Huskies All-State First Team left-hander to settle down and face the middle of the Derby lineup.

“Closing out the regional final and closing out this game was actually dramatically different just because of the stage and how many people were in the crowd,” Duensing said. “Before the inning, Josh came up to me and he just told me to trust my stuff and that really calmed my nerves. I was actually shaking when I got up there but Josh is my guy and Josh just calms my nerves.”

With runners on first and second base and two outs in the seventh, Duensing induced weakly hit ground ball to Fiene. Because of the slowly hit ground ball, Fiene’s throw was just a little late and Derby junior Jackson Syring was able to beat it out as his junior teammate Hunter Igo came around to score from second base.

On the very next at-bat, Duensing was able to get another ground ball to Fiene. This time, freshman Coleson Syring’s ground ball was fielded and rather than throw across the diamond, Fiene took three steps to his right and stepped on third base, and solidified the Huskies place in Saturday morning’s state championship game with a 4-3 BVNW win.

Early on, it was the same story for the Huskies as Thursday’s contest against Washburn Rural. Senior Max Abramovich ran into trouble in the top of the first inning, allowing Derby to gain an early 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the first inning, the Huskies answered back with an RBI single by Fiene. Then, in the bottom of the third inning Fiene’s second RBI single of the day knotted the score at 2 apiece.

“Our mindset in the dugout was the same the whole game. We each had a lot of energy and tried to keep the tempo up,” Fiene said. “When I was up to bat I just knew I wasn’t going to get a fastball so I just tried to drive it to the opposite field.”

After walks to senior Holden Missey and junior Ryan Freiermuth, junior Sean Roseborough singled to left field, scoring Fiene and Missey to give the Huskies their first lead of the day. Roseborough’s 29th and 30th RBI’s of the season put him just one RBI shy of the school’s all-time single season record of the 31.

“He’s literally going insane,” Abramovich said. “It’s not even fair. We’re not done yet, the kid’s still going to add more. He’s going to break the record I’m telling ya.”

With the two-run top of the first inning behind him, Abramovich went through the next five innings allowing no runs and just one hit. It was the Huskies senior right-hander’s eighth win of the season. The win broke Abramovich’s single-season wins record of 7 set last year, and extended his career wins record to 16.

The win sends the Huskies to their first state championship game in the school’s 25 year history. No. 2 Blue Valley Northwest will go up against No. 1 Blue Valley in the state championship game Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at Hoglund Ballpark.

“It’s nothing new,” Roseborough said of the recipe for success to win a state championship. “It’s the same thing we’ve done all year.”