No. 1-seeded York had a long road to haul if it wanted to win the school's first-ever state championship in softball.
The Dukes took care of step one, knocking off No. 5 Blair 9-7 in Friday morning's consolation semifinal by scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
York then needed to beat No. 2-seeded Omaha Skutt twice in the championship, and the Dukes (35-3) were just three outs away from taking the first of two.
But the Skyhawks (28-4) loaded the bases in their last chance at-bat and scored on back-to-back York errors to earn a 2-1 victory and capture the school's second state championship in three years Friday at the Smith Softball complex.
"We just put the ball in play at the end of the game, and (York) just made some uncharacteristic errors," said Skutt head coach Keith Engelkamp, whose team didn't get a hit off Dukes' starter Taylor Kadavy until the sixth inning. "(York) doesn't normally do that. They're a solid team and I just feel blessed that we got that one."
The Skyhawks started their clinching rally with a single by Kathryn Lanzante. She moved to second after Emma Osowski's bloop hit was dropped by York shortstop Jordyn Stearns.
Caley Barker then hit a single to load the bases. Madison Hasz stepped up to the plate for Skutt and dropped a bunt down the third base line, and York's Atlanta Maronde's throw home was dropped by catcher Adrienne Gocke, scoring Lanzante.
Then two batters later, it was déjà vu for the Dukes.
Kristin McGonigal dropped a bunt towards third but the play at the plate resulted in another dropped ball by the catcher, allowing Osowski to get the winning run.
York's Kadavy was brilliant despite the losing effort. She held a potent offense to just three hits — all in the final two innings — while striking out six batters.
"It was a battle. (Kadavy) shut us down — what a gutsy performance by her," Engelkamp said. "We hadn't seen a lefty all year, and her ball was moving. We have a good hitting team, and we were just stifled.
"I guess small ball wins it."
Skutt's Kayla Jablonski, a University of Nebraska recruit, was just as dominant in her outing.
She struck out 12 York batters and gave up five hits.
Fans of both top-seeded Wahoo and No. 5 Wayne, the two participants in the Class C state championship, were treated to an offensive showdown.
In a game that saw a combined 16 runs, 24 hits and four homeruns, it was the Warriors (29-6) that finished on top 10-6 to win their first state title since winning back-to-back in 2003-04.
Wahoo won the game despite trailing 4-0 after one inning to the Blue Devils (28-9).
"We didn't panic. We've got so much confidence in our hitting that (the girls) just thought they could chip away (at the early lead)," said Wahoo head coach Katrina Christen.
Wayne earned three doubles in the top of the first to put four runs across.
But Wahoo wouldn't be deterred, as Taylor Otte hit a homerun in her side's first at-bat of the ball game.
"That was a huge start for us," Christen said. "Taylor's our leader and the girls just follow her. She did it again. Even with (Wayne) pitching away from her, she found a way."
Otte's bomb helped spark the Warriors, who scored two runs in both the first and second innings to tie the game at 4-all.
Kelsi Anderson then blew the game open in the bottom of the third when she blasted a two-run homerun to centerfield.
Leading 8-6, the Warriors added two security runs in the bottom of the sixth thanks to RBI doubles by Anderson and Otte.
Rachel Stratman also hit a homerun for the state champions. Michaela Miller earned the win in the circle, giving up four earned runs and 12 hits in a complete game effort.
Wayne used three pitchers as Hannah Belt was saddled with the loss. She gave up four earned runs and six hits.
Millard South earned its repeat of the Class A state title, but it wasn't easy.
The No. 2 Patriots fell to No. 1 Papillion La-Vista 7-4 to force a second championship game, where Millard South (32-4) responded with a 13-4 victory.
The loss continues the Monarchs' (34-3) championship drought, as the team won 13 titles and two-runner up finishes from 1995-2010.
Papillion La-Vista, who defeated Millard West 11-1 in the early morning consolation semifinals, nearly did the impossible by winning three games to take state. Heading into the last inning in the second championship match, the Monarchs led 4-3.
That lead evaporated quickly.
The Patriots' offense exploded for 10 runs in the top of the seventh to help pull away with the win. Millard South put together six hits in the inning, including a homerun by Emily Hove and back-to-back doubles from Jordyn Sturgeon and Natalie Wilson.
Jordan Johnson earned the win in the circle, allowing three earned runs and 10 hits in the complete game effort.
In the first championship game, Papillion La-Vista scored three runs in both the third and fourth innings and added another run in the fifth to take a commanding 7-2 lead.
Madison Unzicker was all of Millard South's offense in the loss, as she hit two home runs and earned four RBIs.
Pap. La-Vista 003 310 0 — 7 10 0
Millard South 200 000 2 — 4 6 4
W — Julia Anderson L — Jordan Johnson
2B — P, Taylor Pudenz. HR — M, Madison Unzicker (2).
Millard South 003 0010 — 13 14 2
Pap. La-Vista 020 110 — 4 10 5
W — Johnson L — Andersen
2B — M, Jordyn Sturgeon, Natalie Wilson. 3B — P, Gina Metzler. HR — M, Emily Hove, Valerie Kinney.
York 001 000 0 — 1 5 3
Skutt 000 000 2 — 2 3 0
W — Kayla Jablonski L — Taylor Kadavy
Wayne 400 110 0 — 6 12 3
Wahoo 223 102 X — 10 12 1
W — Michaela Miller L — Hannah Belt
2B — WAY, Jalyn Zeiss, Danica Schaefer; WAH, Taylor Otte, Kelsi Anderson. HR — WAY, Schaefer; WAH, Otte, Anderson, Rachel Stratman.