The top two seeds in Class A survived and advanced in Wednesday’s opening round of the state tournament at Smith Softball Complex.
Both top-seeded Lincoln Southwest and No. 2 Gretna edged out victories in the winner’s bracket and will meet for the first time this season at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
Gretna battled two-time reigning champion Papillion-LaVista and a run was hard to come by as both teams didn’t want to give an inch. Papio scored the first two runs of game and was up 2-0 after two innings.
Class A favorite Gretna did not have a hit until the third inning, but the Dragons scored a run with two hits in the bottom of the third to make it 2-1.
Papio had an answer in the fourth with two runs off three singles.
The Dragons responded with a run in their half of the fourth, tacked on two more in the bottom of the fifth and another in the sixth to take the lead and held on for a 5-4 victory.
“We got our tails kicked for three innings in this game,” said Gretna head coach Bill Heard. “They hung in. They had multiple chances where it could have fallen apart.”
Gretna relief pitcher Allison Mcgee came in and pitched well across the final 3 2/3 innings. She struck out four Monarchs.
“Allison Mcgee comes in and keeps us around,” Heard said. “She is a stud. Her composure and her toughness makes her a really good softball player.”
The Dragons are now 2-0 after a bad district appearance, in which they were sept by Papillion-LaVista South and subsequently dropped a seed.
“I honestly thought that the first game was big,” said Heard of the team’s 10-2 win over Norfolk, in which the Dragons blew the game open with a seven-run sixth. “It was really tight for about four or five innings. Now we play (Lincoln) Southwest and I know we will see a very good softball team.”
Southwest snuck past Papio South to open the day, winning 7-4 after leading 5-0 through five innings. The Titans scratched four runs off of LSW’s Bailey Selvage in the sixth before Alexis Bradley slammed the door. Ashley Smetter was 3-for-3 and scored three runs for the Silver Hawks.
A 5-2 victory over Millard North in the nightcap lifted Southwest into the winner’s bracket final. North plated three runs in the third on back-to-back home runs from Desaree Cuevas and Katherine Johnson, but Southwest got a pair back on four hits in its half of the inning.
Southwest tied the game in the fifth on a dropped third strike, and a two-run single by Taylor Fritz proved to be the game-winner.
Game 11 — No. 1 LSW vs No. 2 Gretna, 4:30 PM, Field 3
Game 7 — PLVS vs. Millard South, 9 AM, Field 1
Game 8 — Lincoln East vs Norfolk, 9 AM, Field 2
Game 9 — Papio vs. Winner Game 7, 11:30 AM, Field 1
Game 10 — Millard North vs. Winner Game 8, 11:30 AM, Field 2
Game 12 — Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 10, 4:30 PM, Field 4