Lincoln North Star and Lincoln Southwest each posted two wins during the opening day of districts.
The Navigators and Silver Hawks are hoping one game is all it takes to get back to the state softball tournament.
Punctuated by a Hanna Roth grand slam, No. 7 North Star scored six runs in the second inning to top No. 8 Millard West 8-4 in an A-6 game Wednesday at Bair Softball Complex. The Navigators opened the day with a 12-0 win against Omaha South.
No. 6 Southwest, meanwhile, had the bats rolling in wins against Lincoln Northeast (15-7) and Papillion-La Vista South (12-3) in the A-7 district at Bair.
North Star (27-9) and Southwest (26-8) entered districts ranked sixth and seventh, respectively, in wild-card points. Both teams don’t want to have to rely on Class A’s only wild-card berth, and there’s no guarantee the wild card will fall to them if needed.
“One of our goals was to go 2-0 (Wednesday) and I think our team had that mindset coming into the games, and then we just hit the ball, we played good defense, (Alexis) Hubbard pitched well,” Roth said. “Everyone was working together as a team.”
Roth did her part, finishing with two homers and five RBIs against the Wildcats (18-10).
“I think that was a big confidence boost for her and it came at the right opportunity,” North Star coach Brittany Hansen said. “Like we talk about, nothing matters except going forward. Postseason is a completely new season, so it’s the right opportunity to get hot and we hope all batters catch that fire.”
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Hubbard gave the Navigators a big boost in the circle. The sophomore pitched a complete game, allowed six hits and struck out five.
Southwest was in a hole very early Wednesday. Lincoln Northeast’s Alexi Williams hit a first-inning grand slam, and the Rockets led 7-4 before Southwest scored 11 runs in the fourth inning to end the game.
“We didn’t let that bother us and we managed to keep our composure, came back and hit the ball extremely well,” Southwest coach Mark Watt said.
The Silver Hawks’ offensive momentum carried into the next game against Papio South (10-21). Emma Hain hit two homers — including a grand slam — and finished with six RBIs, and Ashley Smetter and Abbie Squier added homers.
“We work hard on hitting, and hitting for any team is contiguous,” Watt said. “Once we get going, it’s hit after hit after hit. They had really good approaches tonight, they swung at good pitches for the most part, and that usually leads to hitting the ball hard.”
North Star will play the winner of Millard West-Fremont at 3 p.m. Thursday. Southwest will play the winner of North Platte-Papio South, also at 3 p.m.
Lincoln Northeast’s season came to a close with a 10-2 defeat against North Platte (26-10). Alexa Williams homered for the Rockets (15-22) against the Bulldogs.