Zephyrs run into tough competition at state
     2013-08-01      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen - Westco Zephyrs’ Leighton Freeze slides safe into third base during a game against Kearney on July 22. The Zephyrs ended their season last weekend after a pair of losses at the Class A National Division State Tournament, bringing their season record to an admirable 35-17. 
Westco Seniors shut out by power Creighton Prep team, still turn in big 35-17 year

It took 14 innings for the Westco Zephyrs to finally get on the scoreboard against some excellent pitching at the Class A National Division State Tournament, but by the time the Zephyrs got the bats going, it was too late to keep their season alive.

After getting shut out 4-0 by Creighton Prep PI Midwest on Saturday, the Zephyrs fell behind Lincoln Southwest Pinnacle Bank 7-0 on Sunday before scoring four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. But Westco could muster just one more run and Pinnacle Bank took the 9-5 victory.

The pair of losses put an end to an otherwise memorable 35-17 season for the Zephyrs, who made their third straight appearance in one of the Class A state tournaments.
“We could have played a little bit better,” 22nd-year Zephyrs coach Mark Moran said of the team’s state tournament experience. “But there’s only one team that doesn’t lose its last game and that’s the national champion. I told the kids that we have to reflect and appreciate the whole season.

“They had an awesome season, winning the two elimination games in the area tournament to get to state was huge, and the regular season we put together was way better than anybody expected. So it was a great season overall.”

Against Creighton Prep — which after Monday was the last undefeated team among the four left in the National Division bracket and seeking its third straight Class A state championship — three PI Midwest pitchers held Westco to just one hit, a single by Jackson Hinze in the fourth inning.

“Creighton Prep is one of the traditional Nebraska powerhouses. they were very good, and our defense let us down a little bit,” Moran said. “If we had played a clean game, they wouldn’t have scored either.”

Alexander Allberry recorded the win for PI Midwest. He pitched the first seven innings, striking out nine, walked three and gave up Hinze’s hit.
“Their starter was really good, they brought in two relievers that were awesome and they had a lot more guys on their bench that were available,” Moran said. “That was our biggest problem in not being able to score on those guys.“

Westco standout Eric Moreno was solid as usual on the mound in making his final pitching appearance before he takes his talents to Lamar (Colo.) Community College. Moreno tossed eight innings and allowed one earned run, six hits and no walks while striking out six.
Against Pinnacle Bank, the Lincoln Southwest team used a double, error and single to manufacture four first-inning runs. Pinnacle added two runs in the third and one in the fifth before the Zephyrs finally put a dent in Southwest pitcher Jared Towell.

“We missed a couple balls in the first inning and they ended up getting up on us 7-0, but our guys did a good job of competing,” said Moran, whose team cut into the deficit with four run in the bottom of the fifth.

"A two-run double by Robbie Cantril and a two-run double by Ty Benson gave Westco life. However, a huge defensive play made off the bat of Tharyn Curtis ended the Zephyrs’ rally.
“They didn’t give up, we put four up there and get an error and a guy on second,” Moran said. “Then we hit a ball to right field and the guy makes an unbelievable play. He doesn’t make that catch and we are within 7-5 with another guy on second. It took away all the momentum, but that was a great play by him.“

Pinnacle responded in regaining that momentum by adding two sixth-inning runs to regain the upper hand. Jacob Schmid had an RBI single in the top of the eighth brought the Zephyrs within four, but that was as close as Westco would get.

Torrell allowed five runs over eight innings in recording the victory. He struck out seven Zephyrs, walked four and scattered nine hits.
Austin Murphy led the Zephyrs offensively with three singles and a walk.

Moran said he is already turning his attention to his 23rd season with the Zephyrs.
“We lose some important guys,“ he said. “but we have some good kids coming back and we have some good kids coming up from our Juniors team (the Express), so I am already thinking about next year.”eady thinking about next year."

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