HASTINGS — Both Wayne and Guardian Angels Central Catholic forced winner-take-all games in the finals of the State Softball Championships Friday afternoon at the Smith Softball Complex.
In the Class B championship, Wayne spotted Beatrice an early run and then turned to the long ball to avenge last night’s 1-0 loss to Beatrice with a 6-1 victory.
Meanwhile, in Class C, the Bluejays broke a scoreless tie with three runs in the fourth and handed top-seeded Fairbury its first loss of the tournament, claiming a 7-6 win.
In the Class B matchup, Beatrice pitcher Addison Barnard led of the game with a solo blast just over the reach of left fielder Virginia Kniesche to stake the Lady Orange to a quick lead, only to see that lead evaporated when Tori Kniesche returned the favor, taking a Barnard pitch over the wall for a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning.
In the third inning, Tori Kniesche took Barnard over the wall a second time, and in the fourth it was Kendall Dorey’s turn, as she launched a three-run bomb to put Wayne in control and help them force the winner-take-all game.
In the Class C battle, it was scoreless until the fourth when Kayla Fischer singled home Marissa Hunke and Jenna Schnistock scored on a double play. Fairbury got a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth, but
GACC came right back in the top of the sixth when Fischer hit a two-run homer to center field.
Fairbury came back with two runs in the bottom of the sixth and had the bases loaded with two outs, but Erin Franzluebber struck out Raven DeFrain — who had two homers and seven RBI’s so far in the tournament — to get out of the jam.
GACC got some much-needed insurance in the top of the seventh, highlighted by a two-run homer to center by Kate Gnad, but Fairbury came back with four of their own and found themselves in a similar situation, only to see DeFrain strike out again to end the game.
Both games are set to start 30 minutes after completion of each of the first games.