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Class B state softball: Behind arms and offense, Omaha Skutt puts together complete tournament run

Class B state softball: Behind arms and offense, Omaha Skutt puts together complete tournament run

State softball, 10.16

Omaha Skutt's Hannah Camenzind (12) connects for a RBI double to drive in the SkyHawks' eighth run against Hastings in the fifth inning during the Class B state softball tournament final Friday in Hastings.

HASTINGS — Moments after the trophy presentation Friday, the Omaha Skutt softball players interrupted their celebration and trotted to the left-field line beyond the infield.

To run.

About 25 yards out and 25 in, 25 out and 25 in.

Yes, even after a commanding run through the Class B state tournament bracket, Skutt didn't stray away from a routine.

You don’t mess with tradition, coach Keith Engelkamp says.

“We always run waterfalls (after games), we call it,” Engelkamp said. “I go, ‘Guys, we’re not going to change anything because a lot of you are coming back and we want to get right into next year.’”

The No. 1 SkyHawks were running well at Bill Smith Softball Complex this week, capping a third state championship with an 8-4 win against No. 2 Hastings in Friday’s final. Skutt outscored its four state opponents 26-5.

As it has all season, Skutt (32-3) did it with pitching — juniors Hannah Camenzind and Ruby Meylan split the innings load — and some pop. The SkyHawks hit four home runs against the Tigers (33-5), including two from Camenzind.

Skutt jumped to an early 4-0 lead behind back-to-back homers from Camenzind and Meylan. But Hastings answered with four runs in the top of the second.

That didn’t rattle the SkyHawks, who quickly regained the lead on Camenzind’s solo shot to center in the bottom of the second.

“They were just dinking them here and there so, I just thought I could use my bat and play a big part in the game,” said Camenzind, who started the game in the circle.

Meylan entered in the second inning and held Hastings to three hits the rest of the way, helping Skutt, which finished with 15 hits, secure its first state title since 2013.

“It’s huge just knowing that even if it’s not your day, because you’re not always going to have your best stuff, that there’s someone that’s just as good as you who is right there to have your back,” said Camenzind, an Arkansas recruit who also doubled and finished with four RBIs.

Skutt jumped to a 4-0 first-inning lead against Hastings during their regular-season matchup. But the Tigers rallied for an 8-4 win in the Hastings Invitational final.

“A good team like that, we said we’ve got to have at least four,” Engelkamp said. “You want to have at least a four-run lead, because they’ll rally on you, come back, they run the bases great, and I think our kids responded.”

Skutt also responded well to last year’s early exit from Hastings. They entered the 2019 tourney as the No. 1 team, but lost to Seward in the opening round, and lost again two games later.

“Last year we came out and looked by our first opponent,” Engelkamp said. “We didn’t do that again, so we learned. We learned our lesson and it changed our demeanor last year.”

Camenzind said the SkyHawks were “extremely motivated” heading into the 2020 season.

“We came together as team a lot this week and it felt so good just knowing the last year's didn’t work out, and we’ve worked so hard all season,” she said.

Hastings reached the final with a 3-2 win against No. 3 Norris (28-6), which had its best state performance since 2009 and won a school-record 28 games.

"We had to tell them to just go back and focus on the year," Norris coach Kyle McMurray said. "Let this soak in. Absolutely you're going to be sore, you're going to be upset, you're going to be sad, you're going to be angry, all the things that you have, those emotions of disappointment. But once this settles in, don't forget the season you just had. They set a lot of bars this year and there's a lot to be proud of."

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


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