Lincoln Southwest is heading back to Hastings to defend its Class A state softball championship.
The Silver Hawks will be taking some hot bats, too.
No. 6 Southwest (27-8) had 15 hits, including four home runs, en route to a 15-3 win against North Platte in the A-7 district final Saturday at Papillion-La Vista South High School.
"You can't ask for a better start than that," Southwest coach Mark Watt said of the Silver Hawks' four-run first inning. "That was a tremendous way to respond. We just hit the ball really well today."
Junior Emma Hain hit two homers and Abbie Squier and Skylar Pieper each had one, all into the teeth of a 17-mph wind. All three make up the heart of the Silver Hawk lineup.
Hain, Squier, Pieper and leadoff hitter Ashley Smetter each had three RBIs for Southwest, which will be making its seventh straight trip to state and 13th overall since 2003.
Southwest jumped to an early 4-1 lead. After the Bulldogs (27-11) cut the lead to 4-3, Southwest scored six in the third. Squier capped the big inning with a three-run shot to center field, and Hain made it 10-3 with a laser over the center-field wall.
Pieper ended the game with a three-run shot.
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A happy bus ride back to Lincoln followed.
"We're just excited, happy, thrilled to be back (in Hastings)," Watt said. "This year we've had some ups and downs, but definitely finishing on a high note."
Southwest scored 47 runs in three district games. Watt likes where the Silver Hawks are heading into state.
"I feel like we've gotten better and better throughout the season and we kind of had to find ourselves after losing two Super-State pitchers (McKenzie Steiner and Brin Swanson) and the best catcher (Emma Kauf) in the country," Watt said. "That takes a little while to adjust and we did that. We continued to get better and I don't think that we have played the best that we can yet."
A-3 at Omaha Marian: Kaydence Skiles had four hits and five RBIs in helping No. 2 Omaha Marian capture a district title with a 12-2 win against Lincoln East.
Marian (21-5) jumped to an early 4-1 lead, and added two runs in the fourth before breaking the game open with six runs in the fifth.
Marian freshman Maddia Groff struck out 11 in the win.
East (22-19) reached the district final with a 7-5 win against No. 9 Omaha Burke. Emily Prai doubled, homered and finished with three RBIs in the victory.