OMAHA – The top-ranked Waverly Viking baseball team opened the 2019 State Baseball Tournament with a come-from-behind win over Elkhorn Mount Michael in the opening round of the Class B tournament on May 11.

The Vikings trailed the Knights 3-1 going into the bottom of the fifth inning before rallying for the 4-3 opening round win.

Viking center fielder Treyton Kozal came through with a run-scoring double in the bottom of the seventh inning scoring Easton Hovelsrud with the game-winning run.

Kozal said he was expecting a curveball. “But I was able to adjust to his fastball,” he said. “After hitting it, the emotions just flooded in.”

The win avenged a loss to the Knights a week earlier in one of the six Class B district final contests.

“We wanted this day to get here as fast as possible,” Kozal said. “I’ve never seen us more focused for a game, playing like we wanted something.”

Waverly finished with 10 base hits against the Knights and it was Treyton Kozal, Hovelsrud and Ian Steinmeyer leading the way with two apiece.

Kozal drove in two and Hovelsrud scored twice.

Starter Jonah Reiser earned a no-decision on the mound while working six solid innings. Reiser allowed seven hits and three runs while striking out five over six innings. Reliever Maverick Wylder earned the win for the Vikings.

The win kept the Vikings in Monday’s winner’s bracket where they squared off against Hastings at Werner Park.

A four-run third inning was the difference and it was the Hastings Tigers advancing into Tuesday night’s semifinal with a 5-2 win over the Vikings.

The win stretched the Tiger win streak to eight while the Vikings moved one game away from being eliminated.

The Vikings staked starter Treyton Kozal to a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the third inning.

The Tigers got to Kozal for four runs on five hits in the third and never trailed the rest of the way.

With the score 5-2, the Vikings had first-and-third with nobody out in the top of the sixth inning, but were unable to score off of Tiger starter Jake Schroeder who earned the win with six strong innings.

Treyton Kozal and Jay Adams each drove in a run and finished with two base hits apiece.

Rhett Jordon and Adams scored the Viking runs. Jordon reached base twice against the Tigers.

Kozal suffered the loss on the mound, working just three innings.

Reliever Ian Lanik worked three scoreless innings for the Vikings in relief of Kozal.

The Vikings played in an elimination game on Tuesday evening against the Elkhorn Antlers.

Elkhorn lost their opening round game at the hands of Norris, but rallied on Monday afternoon to stay alive with an 11-0 win over Omaha Concordia/Omaha Brownell-Talbot/Omaha Christian Academy.

The Vikings fell to 20-6 on the season after the loss to the Tigers.

The Vikings did not play against the Antlers during the regular season.

The Antlers improved to 13-11 with their shutout win on Monday.

Results will appear online and in next week’s Waverly News.

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