by Adam Burns
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – Millard United Elite 14U defended its home turf on Saturday morning. The Omaha, Nebraska-based team, seeded No. 16, surprised the Slumpbuster D1 championship bracket field with a 4-1 upset of No. 1 Rawlings Prospects MD at the Council Bluffs Sports Complex.
Then, hours later, Millard United handled No. 9 Grey Sox 9-1 (South Carolina) to advance to the quarterfinals round. The locals will face the Minnesota Iceman at 11:15 a.m. Sunday at Zorinsky Complex Field 1.
Millard United coach Scott Semanisim and starting pitcher Jack Cosgrove were both not shocked that they were headed to Championship on Sunday.
“We had a lot of confidence. We just did our jobs,” said Cosgrove, who pitched two scoreless innings. “We plan to come back tomorrow and continue to dominate. If we do that, we have a good shot at winning this tournament.”
“They played well,” Semanisim said. “It was a rough start in pool play and we somehow snuck into a 16 seed. They were ready today and came out and played hard and played great baseball. They played with a next man up mentality and got the win.”
Semanisim added that he liked what he saw out of his starter.
“He did outstanding,” he said of Cosgrove. “He did exactly what he needed to do; he pounded the strike zone and got us through. We needed the innings and he gave it to us.”
After a 2-1 pool play effort, Millard United put the pieces together to make some noise and firmly implant themselves in the thick of things in bracket play. What did Semanisim tell his team before they faced the No. 1 overall seed?
“That we were going to beat them,” Semanisim said, acknowledging that pool play was not the team’s best effort. “They showed that they were better than (Rawlings).”
And what did the coach see in his squad on Saturday?
“Fire. They just came out and believed,” Semanisim said. “They were not happy with how they played in pool play. We just happened to scratch a couple runs across.”
Now, the goal is to bring that fire or, as Cosgrove stated, “dominate” on Championship Sunday.
“We love seeing the competition come from all over the country,” Semanisim said. “I tell everybody and Triple Crown. We’re the luckiest people in the world because we get to see all this fantastic competition and not leave home.”