HASTINGS, Neb. — Fairbury and West Point GACC displayed their championship credentials Wednesday with a pair of victories in the Class C state tournament.
After convincing first-round wins, the Jeffs and Bluejays dispatched their second-round opponents — Cozad and Arlington, respectively — by 10-0 scores in games that last four innings.
GACC sent Auburn to the elimination bracket with a 15-7, six-inning victory in the first round, while Fairbury defeated Malcolm 11-4 in its opener after beating the Clippers in last week’s district final.
Cozad edged Kearney Catholic, making its tourney debut, 6-4 in the first round. Another tournament newcomer, Hastings St. Cecilia, fell to Arlington 9-7.
Fairbury coach Taylor Biehl said that first-round win wasn’t easy because the teams were so familiar with each other. The Clippers raced to a 13-0 lead before Fairbury rallied to win 21-15 last Saturday.
“I was a little nervous coming in just because I know their hitters,” Biehl said. “But I also know our hitters. So I figured it could be another offensive battle kind of like it was on Saturday. My pitcher did an excellent job against them today.”
That was Jami Mans, who scattered eight hits in the first game before limiting Cozad to one hit in four innings. It didn’t help the Haymakers’ cause that they committed four errors.
Fairbury had a pair of doubles and four home runs against Cozad, including two by Raven DeFrain.
Fairbury and GACC will play in Thursday’s 4:30 p.m. winners bracket game, with the winner advancing to Friday’s 2 p.m. title game.
Day 2 of the tournament begins with a pair of 9 a.m. elimination games — Kearney Catholic against Malcolm and St. Cecilia playing Auburn. Arlington will meet the Kearney Catholic-Malcolm winner in an 11:30 a.m. elimination game while Cozad gets the St. Cecilia-Auburn winner at the same time.
The 11:30 a.m. winners will then meet at 4:30 p.m.
Even when the Clippers rallied for four runs in the fourth and fifth innings, Fairbury didn’t panic. It scored six times during the fifth and sixth innings to expand its lead.
“This group doesn’t get jacked either way,” Biehl said. “It’s just a matter of we need to stay the course and keep doing what we know how to do.”
Fairbury got plenty of production from the bottom of its lineup against the Haymakers. Ellie Ohlde had two hits and scored two runs and Claire Shumard had a home run, and both players had two RBIs.
Cozad was a team the Jeffs had not faced this season, and that’s also true of the Haymakers’ Thursday opponent.
Arlington (22-7).................000 0— 0 1 2
West Point GACC (27-3)......313 3—10 13 0
W: Erin Franzluebber, 12-2. L: Sarah Theiler, 18-7. 2B: GACC, Kayla Fischer. HR: GACC, Aubrey Kreikemeier 2, Jenna Schinstock.
Cozad (24-8)........000 0— 0 1 4
Fairbury (26-4)......513 1—10 8 1
W: Jami Mans, 25-3. L: Reagan Armagost, 18-5. 2B: F, Cora DeBoer, Jaelle Johnson. HR: F, Claire Shumard, Raven DeFrain 2, Ellie Ohlde.
Malcolm (20-11)........000 310 0— 4 8 1
Fairbury (25-4)........122 024 x—11 12 1
W: Jami Mans, 24-3. L: Hailey Wessel. 2B: F, Jaelle Johnson, Ellie Ohlde. HR: M, Alyssa Fortik, Anna Schroeder. F, Mans, Claire Shumard, Johnson, Raven DeFrain.
Kearney Cat. (23-8).........002 010 1—4 9 2
Cozad (24-7)...............104 010 x—6 10 2
W: Reagan Armagost, 18-4. L: Bralen Biddlecome, 8-4. 2B: KC, Olivia Nore. C, Emma Coen 2. HR: KC, Payton Schirmer, Christina Arram, Biddlecome. C, Haley Carargill, Hannah Guthard.
Arlington (22-6)..............301 005 0—9 11 1
Hastings SC (25-8)..........410 002 0—7 11 3
W: Sarah Theiler, 18-6. L: Natalie Kissinger, 21-7. 2B: A, Cadence Robinson. HSC, Shaye Butler. 3B: A, Theiler. HR: A, Kylee Bruning. HSC, Kiersten Kober, Bailey Kissinger.
Auburn (22-6)............400 030— 7 11 5
WPGACC (26-3).........733 002—15 13 1
W: Erin Franzluebber, 10-2. L: Kylie Allen, 11-5. 2B: A, Melody Billings. GACC, Aubrey Kreikemeier, Brenna Rief, Kate Gnad. HR: A, Madison Reiman. GACC, Avery Kreikemeier 2.