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Class B state softball: Camenzind's blast aids Meylan's gem as Omaha Skutt reaches championship round
CLASS B STATE SOFTBALL

Class B state softball: Camenzind's blast aids Meylan's gem as Omaha Skutt reaches championship round

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HASTINGS — Hannah Camenzind and Ruby Meylan complement each other very well in the circle. If one isn’t feeling it, the other can come in and carry the flag.

On Thursday, Camenzind had Meylan’s back with her bat.

Camenzind broke a scoreless tie in the sixth inning with a solo shot to left, and Meylan dominated in the circle in lifting Class B No. 1 Omaha Skutt to a 4-0 win against No. 3 Norris in a state tournament winners bracket game at Bill Smith Softball Complex.

Pitcher helping pitcher.

Skutt added three more runs in the seventh inning to advance to the Class B final for the first time since 2013.

Asked about Camenzind’s homer, Meylan said, "It gave me a little less stress."

Meylan struck out nine and limited Norris to four hits. She threw 97 pitches, including 72 for strikes.

“I was just really confident in my defense,” Meylan said. “They really helped me out tonight and my rise ball was on. Norris has good hitters, but I was keeping it off the plate and it worked for me.”

Skutt can score a ton of runs, but the SkyHawks have been putting a lot of pressure on foes with pitching, too. Camenzind and Meylan have combined to pitch all 21 innings in Hastings. They have allowed zero earned runs and have combined for 37 strikeouts.

“They’re just hitting their spots,” Skutt coach Keith Engelkamp said. “They’re confident, they’ve gotten better all year long. I think we struggled in the very beginning, but now they’re on the same page with the pitching coach and they’re trusting what he’s calling. But their focus has been great. They like pitching out here.”

Thursday’s game was a duel between Meylan and Norris’ Alexis Wiggins, who struck out six, and also worked ahead in counts and hit her spots.

Norris coach Kyle McMurray said Wiggins pitched “lights out.”

“I thought our kids competed really, really well,” McMurray said. “It literally came down to three pitches and three swings. I’ll be honest with you, the pitches that they hit really hard I thought Lex threw really good pitches.”

Norris (28-5) could see Skutt (31-3) again if it can beat No. 2 Hastings (31-4) a second time. The Titans outlasted the Tigers 4-3 in an intense second-round contest Wednesday.

“This season has turned into one goal now, and that’s win tomorrow at 11:30, and if we do that we’ll come back with another goal and then we’ll come back with another goal,” McMurray said. “One team is going to walk out here tonight down and that’s us, and one team is going to walk out of here on a positive note, whoever wins the game over there (Northwest-Hastings).”

Hastings will certainly enter Friday’s elimination game on a positive note. The Tigers rallied for a comeback win — they trailed 6-1 headed to the sixth — against No. 4 Northwest (27-12), ending the game on a three-run walk-off homer from junior Kaelan Schultz.

No. 6 Seward (24-10) and No. 10 Crete (21-12) saw their seasons come to a close Thursday.

Megan Garcia pitched a two-hit shutout in Elkhorn's 5-0 win against Seward.

"You've got keep your heads up," Seward coach Rich Eber said. "Only eight of us get to get here and enjoy this and participate in one of the coolest high school events there is.

"I told the girls the only reason that we should be upset is because we lose our two seniors (Grace Hamling and Sydney Parra)."

The Cardinals, who were making their fourth straight trip to Hastings, were eliminated by No. 9 Grand Island Central Catholic, 9-6.

"I think there was a lot of people that kind of doubted us from the beginning and maybe didn't expect us to be at state, but Crete softball has turned into a great program and the expectation is to be at state," Crete coach KiLee Griffin said. "For them to overcome some adversity throughout the year … and how we ended, I'm super-proud of them."

Reach Clark Grell at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter at @LJSSportsGrell.

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