CRETE, Neb. — Another big day from Addison Barnard on Monday moved Beatrice to within one victory of a Class B softball subdistrict tournament title.
The Wichita State recruit became the state’s all-time career home run leader in the Lady Orange’s 12-0 first-round victory over NEN in the B-5 tournament at Crete. Barnard’s blast made her the first player in state history to reach 60 home runs.
Barnard then struck out 11 Crete batters as No. 3 Beatrice defeated the Cardinals 7-4 in the winners bracket.
Both teams are expected to qualify for Friday’s best-of-three district tournaments that will determine the field for the state tournament in Hastings.
All of the subdistricts are scheduled to conclude Tuesday, and the eight district final pairings will be released Wednesday by the Nebraska School Activities Association.
For No. 4 Crete or NEN, which defeated North Bend Central 14-0 in an elimination game, to win the B-5 subdistrict, they need to win three games Tuesday. Crete beat NBC 14-0 in the first round.
Beatrice coach Gary Lytle said the way the 26-4 Lady Orange performed in all three major phases — pitching, hitting and fielding — Monday made the difference against one of their closest Class B rivals. Beatrice didn’t commit an error.
“This was a really good team win,” Lytle said. “When they would walk some of our girls, players came up behind them and got some big hits. Then Addy battled and made some tough pitches.”
The Lady Orange opened the scoring in the second inning, with an intentional walk playing a big role. Reganne Henning led off with an infield single before Crete pitcher Alexis Mach got the next two batters out.
Barnard then was intentionally walked before second baseman Whitney Schwisow came to bat. Schwisow took the first offering from Barnard and sent it over the left-field fence for a three-run home run.
An RBI triple by Elizabeth Eltze and an RBI double by Leah Jurgens got two runs back for the Cardinals in the top of the third. After scoring one run in the third inning on a leadoff solo home run by Tavia Hausman, the Lady Orange plated three more in the fourth to take a 7-2 lead.
“When you’re not aggressive defensively it makes things tougher against a team like that,” Crete coach Shawn Carr said. “You can’t give a team like Beatrice extra outs because they find a way to come up with an extra hit that turns a routine inning into a big one for them.”
Crete (26-2) 002 010 1—4 8 2
Beatrice (26-4) 031 300 x—7 10 0
W: Addison Barnard. L: Alexis Mach. 2B: C, Leah Jurgens, Morgan Maly. 3B: C, Elizabeth Eltze. HR: B, Whitney Schwisow, Tavia Hausman. A: 350 (est.)