HASTINGS – Wayne capped a perfect season in championship style on Saturday in the NSAA Class C state tournament.
Pitcher Victoria Kniesche struck out the first nine batters she faced and finished the game with 20 strikeouts as Wayne defeated Bishop Neumann 3-2 in the Class C championship game at the Smith Softball Complex in Hastings.
— THEnebpreps (@THEnebpreps) October 13, 2018
Kniesche had retired 18 of the 19 Neumann batters she faced going into the bottom of the seventh with a 3-0 lead for the Blue Devils, but Neumann got a leadoff double from Mary Chvatal to lead off the inning and senior Taylor Stuhr followed with a two-run homer to right center that cut the Wayne lead to 3-2 and sent the Cavalier faithful into a frenzy.
Kniesche, however, settled back in and struck out the next three Cavaliers to gives Wayne the state title. The Blue Devils finished the year 35-0 and as the only undefeated team in Nebraska. Neumann finished its season at 27-10.
Wayne got on the board first in the top half of the fourth inning when Kniesche walked and courtesy runner Aliah Schulz scored when Sidney Biggerstaff tripled to right center. The Blue Devils tacked on what turned out to be two huge runs in the top of the seventh with Biggerstaff doubles and scored on an RBI single by Abigail Ankeny. After a pair of wild pitches lt Ankeny get to third, she scored when Allison Claussen reached on an error.
Neumann’s only other potential scoring threat came in the bottom of the fourth when Maggie Vasa singled to leadoff the inning and got to second on a passed ball. Kniesche, however, struck the next three batters out to end the Cavalier threat.
The state title is the first for Wayne in softball since the Blue Devils won consecutive championships in the 2003 & 2004 seasons. Bishop Neumann was the defending Class C champion and has been in the state finals in three of the past four seasons.
Photo credit / Taylor Siebert of nebpreps