Down 5-2 after five innings, three-time defending state champion Newman Catholic rallied to take the lead and then held off late-inning threats by Council Bluffs St. Albert for a 6-5 win in a thrilling Class 1A first-round game Saturday at Principal Park.
Freshman Max Burt started the game — batting second for the Knights — with a towering home run to left field. He added a bases-loaded RBI double in the sixth inning and then finished the game on the mound, pitching the final two innings to pick up the win.
The sixth-seeded Knights — the lowest seed in their 15 appearances at Principal Park — advance to the semifinals at 18-5. Newman is now 27-8 in state tournament games at Principal Park.
St. Albert (21-2) was the third seed in their fourth trip to Principal Park and 11th state tournament appearance overall.
Newman took a 1-0 lead on Burt’s home run, but the Falcons rallied for a 3-1 lead after three. Newman scored in the fourth to close within 3-2, but St. Albert scored twice in the fifth for a 5-2 edge.
Newman took a 6-5 lead in the top of the sixth with four runs on three hits. Burt had a two-run double to cut the gap to 5-4, then Sam Kratz crushed a two-run double off the left field wall to put the Knights ahead 6-5.
The Falcons left two runners on base in both the sixth and seventh innings. They started the seventh with two straight hits, but a strikeout, line out and an infield pop out ended the game.
Burt’s home run was the 59th hit at Principal Park during state tournament play.