HASTINGS – The Gresham 16 and 18-U girls softball team made the most of their trip to the Bill Smith Hastings Softball Complex this past weekend as they won the Class C, District 7 tournament over 12 other teams.
The Blackbirds rolled through their first two games outscoring their opponents 38-2 and racking up 30 hits to just eight for the Lincoln Lightning, Meridian and Kearney Mid Plains Prowlers.
In the winners’ bracket final, the Blackbirds defeated the Hastings Heat 6-2, and in the championship game late Sunday afternoon the Gresham girls faced the Heat once again, and this time picked up the 6-4 win.
The Heat took a 2-0 lead at the end of the first inning, but in the second the Blackbirds got a run back to make it 2-1.
Gresham took the lead with two in the third to go up 3-2, but the Heat answered with a two-run bottom half of the inning to make it 4-3.
The Blackbirds, who outhit the Heat 9-3, took the lead back for good with three runs in the fifth, and relief pitcher Brooklyn Gierhan shut down the Heat with two scoreless innings to save the game for starter Daylee Dey.
Dey worked four frames, allowed three hits and four runs while recording five strikeouts.
The offense was led by Asia Nisly with three hits in four plate appearances while Emily Neujahr was 2 for 4. Both Chaylee Tonniges and Sydney Kinnett each had one hit. Kinnett’s was a double and drove in a run. Also with RBIs were Nisly, Neujahr and Tonniges.
The big hit to post the Heat to the early 2-0 lead was a two-run homer in the first by Shay Butler.
“This team played great ball over the past two days in Hastings,” Gresham head coach Joe Dey said. “Very focused and ready to go. The defense was superb backing up great pitching to go with a power surge throughout the weekend.
“The bench and role players were terrific the entire weekend. It was a great way to get ready for state play in July.”
Hasting Heat 2
A four-run second inning highlighted by a Dey three-run homer helped the Gresham girls to the 4-1 lead, and pitcher Kailey Ziegler took care of the rest.
Ziegler allowed six hits, tossed six innings and recorded one strikeout and one walk while going the distance.
The offense produced eight hits with Nisly picking up two and driving in a run.
The Heat was led by MacKenzie Demuth, who went 2 for 3 and drove in one run.
Lincoln Lightning 0 – Game One
The Blackbirds got off to a fast start as the offense slapped out 13 hits and Kailey Ziegler tossed the complete game no-hitter with three strikeouts over three innings.
Gresham plated seven in the second and eight in the fourth as Dey drove in three runs and was 2 for 3. Shelby Ziegler was 3 for 3 while Gierhan was 2 for 3 and drove in two runs. Nisly was also 2 for 3 and plated two runs and Mady Payne stepped to the plate twice and recorded two hits.
Meridian 2 – Game Two
Hunter Hartshorn had a huge game as she drilled a pair of homers and drove in four runs in the four-inning game that ended by the 10-run rule.
Nisly was 1 for 2 with two RBIs and also homered in the win.
A seven-run third inning broke open a 1-0 Gresham lead after two innings.
Kailey Ziegler was the pitcher of record as she worked four innings, allowed two hits, two runs and struckout four.
Mid Plains Prowlers 1 – Game Three
The Gresham offense was held scoreless until the top of the fourth when it plated a run to tie the score at 1-1.
The Blackbirds opened some breathing room at 3-1 scoring twice in the fifth, but blew the game open with an eight-run sixth to lead 11-1. The game ended after the Prowlers failed to score in the bottom of the sixth.
Gresham had 10 hits with Neujahr leading the way with three hits in four at bats, including two RBIs and a double. Shelby Ziegler went 2 for 4 and also drove in two runs.
Kailey Ziegler pitched four innings, allowed five hits and the Prowlers’ only run while striking out three batters.
In relief, Allie Nuejahr pitched two innings, gave up one hit and struckout three.