YUTAN – It was a championship season for the Yutan 14-and-under softball team.
After two consecutive losses in the Class C district tournament it didn’t look like the team was going to be hoisting any postseason hardware.
Coach Kelly Hays made the decision to take his team to the Class D tournament after the team’s disappointing showing in Class C.
“The opportunity to still play in the Class D state tournament gave the girls more motivation to keep working hard,” Hays said.
Yutan won their first game at the state tournament, a 9-4 victory over O’Neill.
Yutan made it two wins in a row with a decisive 9-3 win over Atkinson in round two.
“I just wanted to see the girls compete and see if we could string a few wins together,” Hays added.
In their third game, Yutan found themselves behind Ponca 13-4 after just one inning.
A grand slam home run by Maycee Hays (her second home run in two days) got Yutan started on the comeback trail.
It took extra innings, but Yutan was able to secure the 20-18 victory to remain undefeated in state tournament play.
Yutan needed another come-from-behind effort in their next game against Wausa. Yutan pulled out a 10-9 win in their last at bat.
Yutan met Kearney in the state championship final and it was a 10-run fourth inning which led to a 14-8 victory and a state championship for the girls from Yutan.
It was the five-through-nine hitters who did most the damage at the state tournament, accounting for 11 doubles. Abby Keiser finished with five of them.
The team held a banquet on Aug. 5 at the Yutan Country Club south of Yutan. The Yutan VFW Post 9844 hosted the banquet and Chip’s restaurant in Wahoo donated all of the meat for the dinner and also had state championship t-shirts made for the team members.