Juniors advance in Class B state tournament
COLUMBUS — The Wayne American Legion Post 43 Juniors had no problems in their opening-round game at the Nebraska American Legion Class B state tournament Saturday, posting a 10-2 win over Ashland in action at Pawnee Park.
Wayne got on the board in the second with a pair of runs, thanks to a Blake Bartos sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Hopkins. Reid Korth singled home Hagan Miller in the third to make it a 3-0 game.
Ashland threatened in the bottom of the third with two with the help of two Wayne errors, but Wayne got those runs back in the fourth with a Victor Kniesche RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Josh Lutt to make it 5-2.
Ashland’s final real threat came in the bottom of the fourth when they loaded the bases with two singles and a walk, but Jacob Kneifl pitched out of the jam, coaxing a comeback grounder for the final out to leave the bases loaded.
Wayne responded in the fifth and put the game away with a two-run double by Kneifl that scored Korth and Trevor DeBoer. Wayne tacked on three more in the seventh, thanks to an RBI single by Hopkins and an error and bases-loaded walk to advance in the double-elimination tournament.
Gunnar Jorgensen was 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored to lead Wayne’s 14-hit attack. DeBoer, Korth, Hopkins and Kniesche each added two hits, while Kneifl and Hopkins each had two RBI’s.
Kneifl picked up the win with four innings pitched, striking out three and scattering three hits and a walk. Josh Lutt and Drew Buck mopped in relief as Wayne held Ashland to five hits.
The 20-4 Juniors face tournament host Columbus Lakeview, a 7-5 winner over Central City, in Sunday’s 7 p.m. matchup. The winner will take on the survivor of Sunday’s 4 p.m. matchup between Hickman and the ETC Knights. Hickman shut out Alliance 2-0 and ETC Knights beat McCook 12-7 in other first-round games. Losers bracket action Sunday included Alliance and McCook at 10 a.m. and Ashland and Central City at 1 p.m.