The Midland Redskins left no doubt.
Racing to an early lead in the semifinals of the 2019 Pathway Games Omaha, Midland wouldn’t let up, cruising to a 14-1 win over the MNS BlackSox and vaulting into Thursday’s championship.
“The first game we played in this tournament was a great way to get us started,” said head coach Dave Evans. “These last three games, we’ve started to hit the ball a bit better, our pitching has gotten better and overall the boys are a bit more focused.
“We’re here to get some great experience before our end of the season tournament.”
Starting pitcher Chase Silseth found his groove early. In each of the first two innings, Silseth dialed up two strikeouts and set down the BlackSox in order.
“I just got ahead early,” explained Silseth. “When you get ahead, attack the hitters and not fall behind you can have a good day. When I threw my off-speed, I kind of sped their bats up and then I would just attack them with a fastball.”
The right-hander’s sterling three innings included five strikeouts and just one walk. Even with the free pass, Silseth went straight into defensive mode, starting a nifty 1-6-3 double play to back control of the game.
“We were very pleased with Chase’s effort today,” said Evans. “He had taken a little time off and this was his first outing for us. He's a great pitcher and we know what to expect from him every time he's out there.”
On the offensive side of the plate, Midland’s effort did not waiver. The Redskins were quick to put up five runs in the bottom of the first inning that started with an RBI double from Dominic Tamez.
“We saw a lot of fastballs today,” said Tamez. “They had good side-arm guys who kept the ball low. We were able to make the adjustment and stay locked in.”
After adding a run in the second inning, Midland exploded for eight runs in the third. In total, 11 different Redskin batters finished Wednesday afternoon with at least one hit. Tamez’s 2-2 day with an RBI and two runs scored topped them all.
“We’re all hitting really well right now,” Tamez said. “We’re hitting well as a team. We just need to keep it together as a team and work hard toward the finish.”
Cody Sharp took the reins in the fourth inning for Midland. Despite surrendering a run, Sharp finished off MNS with two strikeouts in the fifth, ending the contest, 14-1.
“Obviously, we want to win this thing,” said Silseth. “Every tournament we play in, we feel like we have the ability and the mindset to win. We’ve had the approach of attacking teams and that’s what we’ve done."
The win lands Midland in the championship set for 11:30 a.m. CT on Thursday morning. The Redskins will go head-to-head with the MGF Marshalls, a program that’s no stranger to the boys from Cincinnati.
“This tournament has worked out exactly the way we wanted,” Evans said. “We’ve played some great teams already and we face another great team that we’ve had some history with tomorrow. It’s going to be a good dogfight.”