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Class B state softball: Omaha Skutt changes its approach against Hastings, reaches final for second straight year

Class B state softball: Omaha Skutt changes its approach against Hastings, reaches final for second straight year

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HASTINGS — Omaha Skutt has reached double digits in runs 16 times this season.

The SkyHawks have done it with an aggressive plate approach, and they're certainly not afraid to take their cuts early in at-bats.

But on Thursday, Omaha Skutt showed it can roll up runs with a patient approach, too.

In a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup, the top-rated SkyHawks jumped on Hastings early and cruised to a 14-4 victory in four innings at the Class B state softball tournament at Bill Smith Complex.

The result was much different from a Sept. 18 meeting at this very same softball complex. Skutt won that game 1-0, plating the winning run on an error and mustering only two hits against Hastings standout Faith Molina.

"She pitched really well against us last time, but we left the bases loaded several times and didn't come up with the clutch hit," Skutt coach Keith Engelkamp said. "Today, if we did anything, we were more patient with her.

"I think that really helped our offense."

Skutt (32-0) produced 11 hits and drew five walks Thursday in advancing to Friday's 2 p.m. championship final.

Skutt's top four hitters — Lauren and Hannah Camenzind, Ruby Meylan and Riece Kahler — combined to go 9-for-14 with 10 RBIs.

"The first time we played them we swung at her (Molina) pitch a lot," said Arkansas recruit Lauren Camenzind, who had three hits and five RBIs. "We didn't make her come to us, we swung out of the zone a lot, and this time our plan was if she was there we were going to go hard, and that's what we did."

Omaha Skutt has won three state championships, but the SkyHawks have not had a perfect season and they haven't won Class B in back-to-back years. They'll get that opportunity Friday.

"They'll still be tough," Engelkamp said of No. 2 Hastings. "I wouldn't write them off. This is not over yet. We just have to play well."

Omaha Skutt has outscored its first three state opponents 32-10.

There are three teams remaining in Class B. Northwest (30-8) joined Omaha Skutt and Hastings (34-5) after winning three games Thursday.

The No. 3 Vikings rolled past No. 8 Norris 15-1, scratched out a 4-1 win against No. 7 Wahoo and won a slugfest against No. 4 Bennington 15-12.

Grace Baasch was 5-for-5 with three RBIs in the win against Bennington, which came a day after Bennington won the teams' opening-round meeting.

Optimism for Wahoo

Wahoo's memorable season came to a close following a 4-1 loss to Northwest in an elimination game.

The Warriors (28-5) were making their first state appearance since 2015, and coach Trina Christen said this was an eye-opening experience.

"I think it was an amazing feat for us to get back here, being one of the smaller schools in Class B," she said. "We're kind of that teetering, never quite sure where we're going to end up (Class B or Class C), and I think just to get here and see we can do this. We can compete with these schools, we belong here with everybody else.

"We have a tremendous senior group that we're (going to) incredibly miss, but we have a good strong core to look forward to."

That returning group includes two-way standout Autumn Iversen and infielder Sidney Smart.

Game of the day

Northwest-Bennington: In the words of Ron Burgundy, that escalated quickly.

Bennington led 7-2, then Northwest took control with eight runs in the sixth inning to take a 14-8 lead. But the Badgers rallied with four in the bottom of the sixth.

The teams combined for 12 runs in the sixth. They also combined for 29 hits.

Looking ahead

Northwest and Hastings will be meeting for the fourth time this season. Hastings won all three games, including 12-1 in a subdistrict play.

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


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