By BOB DAVIDSON
Special to the Telegram
EMPORIA — All game long, Daniel O'Brien did what Sublette's pitchers couldn't.
O'Brien, a sophomore right-hander, used pinpoint control and let his defense do much of the work in leading Sacred Heart to a 10-0 victory over Sublette in the first round of the Class 2-1A baseball tournament at Soden's Grove.
The third-seeded Knights (21-3) move on to play second-seeded Pittsburg Colgan in the semifinals at 10 a.m. today. Colgan, the seven-time defending 2-1A state champion, walloped Leavenworth Immaculata 10-0 earlier Friday.
O'Brien (3-1) allowed just two hits — both singles — struck out seven and walked one in the six-inning game that was halted by the run rule.
"I just tried to go out there and throw the best game I could," O'Brien said. "I tried to get rid of my nerves by letting my defense work behind me. I was just trying to throw strikes and not overpower anybody."
"I couldn't locate my curveball very well so I was throwing my fastball more. My four-seam fastball was working the best for me."
"He was just efficient," said Sacred Heart coach Brad Dix. "The first batter was a one-pitch (out) and he went from there."
Conversely, three Sublette pitchers struggled finding the strike zone, issuing 13 walks and hitting three batters.
The Larks also had two errors, had other communication problems in the field and allowed the Knights to steal eight bases on eight attempts.
"We didn't throw a lot of strikes early on and got ourselves in a hole,"said Sublette coach Ryan Hafen. "Sacred Heart's a really good team and we didn't play our best today.
"Their pitcher threw a lot of strikes and they had solid defense behind him. He got better as the game went along."
Sacred Heart scored two runs in each of the first three innings — the first four runs on one hit, eight walks and an error.
The Knights scored the game-ending run in the sixth on three walks and a hit batter.
"I'll take it," Dix said of the free passes. "I don't think we're going to get it every game in the state tournament.
"The kids did a great job. They were patient and took what they gave us."
Sacred Heart finished with eight hits, two by Scott Lyon. Ted Augustine and Travis Wasinger scored two runs apiece.
Starting pitcher Alex White (3-1) took the loss for Sublette (16-7), walking six with relievers Travis Leverett (four walks) and Avigael Gonzalez (three walks) following suit.
"It's great, but we're not done yet," O'Brien said. "We're going to go out and try and get two wins (Saturday) and see if we can get the state championship."