Behind strong outings from both junior pitcher Braden Sweet and senior Christian Hobbs, the Millard South Patriots won the Class A state championship after defeating the Millard West Wildcats twice on Thursday at Haymarket Park in Lincoln.
“I’m just so happy. I’m happy for these guys,” Millard South head coach Greg Geary said. “There are so many former players and guys who’ve kind of set the table and been close. These coaches are unbelievable and do such a good job with the kids.
“I’m just so happy for this group and the seniors. This one’s for the former players that set the culture for this program.”
Millard South won both games by the score of 3-1. In the second game, Patriots’ fiery lefty on the mound, Sweet, went the distance, throwing seven innings with six strikeouts while allowing just one earned run and five hits.
Sweet didn’t have any butterflies before the biggest game of his life.
“To be honest I wasn’t nervous because it was my third time throwing against them,” he said. “I just knew what I had to do — just compete and get them to put the ball in play and make our defense work.”
With Sweet keeping the Millard West offense at bay the whole game, Hobbs’ day at the plate and in the outfield had a large impact in the win.
In the top of the third inning, Hobbs smashed a three-run home run over the wall in right-center. That shot proved to be enough offense for Geary’s team.
“That got me going,” Sweet said of Hobbs’ throw. “It gave me a lot of hope.”
Hobbs also gunned down a baserunner at home plate from right field that kept Millard West from building on its first-inning 1-0 lead.
It’s the first state championship for Millard South since 1980.
“It means a lot to get one for Geary. He wanted this so bad,” Sweet said.
In the first game, pitcher Caden Blair pitched seven innings with no earned runs. He stuck out four batters and kept the Millard West bats from getting anything going.
Brayden Smith, Can Kozeal and TJ Urban each had an RBI in the win.