HASTINGS, Neb. — The first time Omaha Skutt and Norris met this season was in late August at the Lincoln Public Schools Invitational.
Alexis Wiggins didn’t pitch that game for the Titans, and the SkyHawks won 13-0.
No one, including Skutt coach Keith Engelkamp, expects an outcome close to that Thursday when the teams meet in the 7 p.m. Class B winners bracket.
“We know that wasn’t a good measure of the quality of the two teams,” Engelkamp said. “They’re a very solid team, they work hard and they’re well-coached. At that tournament you play three games back-to-back-to-back, and she skipped their game against us.
“They did win the other two, so that was a good strategy.”
Neither Norris nor Skutt has lost many games this season, and neither lost in Wednesday’s first- and second-round games at the Smith Softball Complex.
Norris opened with an 8-3 win over Grand Island Central Catholic in the first state tournament game for the Crusaders. Norris then edged No. 3 Hastings 4-3 in a game in which the 28-4 Titans didn’t get an extra base hit.
Skutt got a pair of impressive pitching performances to remain undefeated on opening day, victories that helped atone for a first-round setback last season to Seward that eventually derailed the SkyHawks’ title hopes.
Junior Ruby Meylan had 15 strikeouts, scattered three hits and had a home run in Skutt’s 6-0 opening-round victory over Elkhorn. The Antlers are back in Class B after finishing as Class A runner-up to Papillion-La Vista in 2019.
Another Skutt junior, Arkansas commit Hannah Camenzind, struck out 13 and hit a home run in the SkyHawks’ 8-1 win over No. 4 Grand Island Northwest. Meylan also had a home run in the win over the Vikings, who opened the tournament with an 8-7 win over Seward.
Camenzind’s twin sister Lauren, who also is an Arkansas commit, had a double against Northwest and hit a home run against Elkhorn. Hannah Camenzind and Sophia Hoffmann also had home runs against Elkhorn, as did Meylan and Grace Newcomer.
That blend of solid pitching and strong hitting gives Engelkamp hope that the SkyHawks are solidly focused on winning the school’s third state softball championship and first since 2013.
“They played like they want it,” Engelkamp said. “You never know when you get here how things are going to work out. Last year we stubbed our toe that first game and didn’t get the outcome we wanted. Our first four hitters are hitting tremendous. They can give you a real spark with a couple of hits and runs and good pitching.
“I hope we can keep doing it.”
Elkhorn (21-13).............000 000 0—0 3 1
Omaha Skutt (29-3)......105 000 x—6 7 3
W-Ruby Meylan. L-Megan Garcia. 2B-E, Ariyana Crafton-Jimmerson; OS, Meylan, Grace Newcomer. HR-Lauren Camenzind, Hannah Camenzind, Ruby Meylan, Sophia Hoffmann.
Seward (24-9)....................................102 110 2—7 6 4
Grand Island Northwest (26-10).......103 013 x—8 8 1
W-Ava Laurent. L-Sydney Parra. 2B-S, Dalaney Anderson. 3B-S, Grace Hamling. HR-S, Grace Hamling (2); GINW, Rebecca Mader.
Grand Island Central Catholic (23-10).....010 200 0—3 7 3
Norris (27-4)..............................................211 022 x—8 9 3
W-Alexis Wiggins. L-Alicyn O’Neill. 2B-GICC, Jessica Zehendner; N, Alexis Bishoff, Wiggins, Isabel Havel. HR-GICC, Kiernan Paulk; N, Bishoff, Wiggins (2), Matthea Boon.
Crete (21-11)......100 100 0—2 4 1
Hastings (30-3)...105 200 x—8 10 1
W-Faith Molina. L-Alexis Mach. 2B-H, Kaelan Schultz. HR-C, Mach; H, Samantha Schmidt, Schultz.
All-Nebraska softball teams since 2010
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