One extra game to determine the final berth in the Class C state softball tournament and two teams moving up one spot in the wild-card point standings, thus improving their seeds, highlighted Saturday’s final day of district tournament play.
Five berths for the Class B and Class C state tournaments that begin Wednesday in Hastings were up for grabs. Only one of those districts, C-8 in Cozad, needed a third game to determine the champion.
After dropping a 14-3 decision to Auburn in the opener, the Haymakers landed just enough blows to defeat the Bulldogs 15-12 in the second game before winning the decisive third game 9-8.
Cozad's reward for holding serve on its home field at Bellamy Park is a first-round Class C state tournament game Wednesday at 2 p.m. against top seed and No. 1-ranked Wahoo Neumann.
The other two Class C teams to earn trips to Hastings were Yutan/Mead in C-4 and Freeman in C-7. The Patriots defeated David City Aquinas 12-0 and 7-2 for the C-4 title while Freeman edged Gothenburg 7-3 and 5-3.
Freeman’s two victories moved the Falcons from the No. 7 seed to No. 6 for state, matching them with West Point Guardian Angels Central Catholic in the first round. Kearney Catholic is now the No. 7 seed and will play Hastings St. Cecilia in the first round. Yutan/Mead will meet Malcolm in the other first-round game.
Two berths were available for the Class B tournament, and Scottsbluff and Wahoo earned those spots with two victories apiece on Saturday. The Warriors defeated Gering by identical 8-0 scores in both games.
In doing so, Wahoo moved ahead of Bennington for the No. 3 seed and will play Scottsbluff, which qualified Saturday by twice outslugging Omaha Gross, 11-10 and 14-12. Now the No. 4 seed, the Badgers will play No. 5 Grand Island Northwest on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.
The other two Class B first-round games will pit No. 1 Omaha Skutt against Norris, and No. 2 Hastings against Elkhorn.
Also confirmed Saturday were the pairings for the Class A tournament, which kicks off the first day of the three-day event at the Smith Softball Complex. Lincoln Southwest secured the No. 1 seed and will play No. 8 Papillion-La Vista South.
The other half of that bracket pits No. 4 Millard South against No. 5 Millard North. Gretna is the No. 2 seed after earning the lone wild card and will play Norfolk, which is making its first state tournament appearance in 15 years. No. 3 seed Lincoln East meets two-time defending champion Papillion-La Vista.