LINCOLN — Logan McGill didn’t have a game-ending hit until getting one Thursday in the most conspicuous way possible.
McGill’s line drive to left, with two out, a full count and the bases loaded, scored two and gave No. 1 Omaha Roncalli a 5-4 win against Norris in the Class B state baseball championship at Haymarket Park.
The Crimson Pride (18-5) didn’t lead until the final play.
“I’m sure every baseball player has thought of that scenario,” McGill said. “It was an amazing experience.”
It was the second baseball championship for Roncalli, first since 1981.
Alex Rodgers started the rally with a one-out single off Norris starter Cullen Papenhagen.
“He’d been throwing first-pitch fastballs all game so I was going to try to square it up and get the inning going,” Rodgers said.
Back-to-back walks loaded the bases and ended Papenhagen’s day. He allowed two earned runs in 6⅓ innings in his first start of the season.
“Papenhagen was really good,” Roncalli coach Jake Hoover said. “He did a good job of getting ahead in counts. We were fortunate that as the game went on he got tired.”
Facing Norris reliever Colbey Behrends, Noah Rheinheimer grounded out to first and Rodgers was thrown out at the plate for the second out. Rodgers was in the dugout for McGill’s hit. What was that like to watch?
“I don’t even know,” Rodgers said shaking his head.
Norris senior Zach Argo doubled in a run in the first inning, and Sayre Burnley, who was 3 for 4 with four RBIs in an earlier win Thursday against Hastings, knocked in a run with two outs in the third.
Roncalli erased a 3-0 deficit in the bottom of the fifth. Three errors on two consecutive plays put two runs on the board, and then Rheinheimer followed with a tying single.
An error by Roncalli shortstop Max Anderson allowed Norris to take back the lead, 4-3, in the sixth.
“It wouldn’t be fair if they made some errors and we didn’t make any,” Hoover joked.
Norris threatened to add runs in the bottom of the sixth but right fielder Justin Niederle’s precision throw nailed Norris’ Tyler Monroe at the plate for the third out.
It was a fitting end to a dizzying three days for Roncalli. The Crimson Pride led 6-0 Tuesday against Hastings, and then fell behind 10-8 in the seventh before winning 11-10 in 10 innings. Norris beat Roncalli 11-9 Wednesday.
“No pressure, no problem. Just how we drew it up,” Hoover said.
This is not how Norris drew it up. The No. 3 Titans (22-8) finished second for the sixth time in school history, and the third in coach Sean Bartholomew’s four seasons.
After McGill’s hit, shortstop Austin Schultz, second baseman Caden Argo and center fielder Caden Kohout crumbled to ground and remained there while Roncalli’s entire team dog piled near second base.
Bartholomew talked to the media before he talked to his players, still unsure what he’d say.
“I gotta find the words,” Bartholomew said.
Norris lost 6-3 in 12 innings to Omaha Skutt in last year’s championship.
“Last year, to end the year that way. This year, to end the year this way. I don’t know which is worse,” Bartholomew said.
Norris……………….101 101 0—4 8 4
Omaha Roncalli……000 030 0—5 6 3
W: Creighton Silvain 7-1. L: Cullen Papenhagen 0-2. 2B: N, Zach Argo, Austin Schultz.