WAVERLY – Waverly softball split a pair of games last week to bring their record for the season to 8-6.
In the Vikings’ first game of the week, Sept. 10, they would face off with Grand Island Northwest at home.
In a battle of Vikings, the maroon and white relied on some late game heroics to snatch the win.
Heading into the bottom of the sixth inning the Vikings trailed Northwest 2-1.
Junior left fielder Landyn Michel started the inning off with a walk on four straight balls.
One batter later, senior shortstop Kendall Hartley would lash a one-out single to right to put two aboard for Waverly.
After freshman second baseman Malia Thoms flew out, sophomore first baseman Tenley Kozal stepped up with two outs and a chance to be the hero.
Kozal wouldn’t disappoint.
Kozal ripped a two-run triple to right, plating Michel and Hartley to give Waverly a 3-2 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Head Coach Amanda Schaefer said she was proud of the way her team kept in the fight all game long.
“We never got down and stayed prepared no matter the score. We were down by one run but we had confidence at the plate to get the job done,” Schaefer said.
Senior pitcher Kiersten Dowding filled in admirably for senior ace Kennedi Claycomb on the rubber, finishing with six strikeouts and one walk and allowing only one earned run on three hits.
Schaefer said she was proud of the way Dowding pitched when called upon.
“(Dowding) stepped up in a huge way for us on the mound, her presence was poised and confident and it kept our whole team in it,” Schaefer said.
For Waverly’s second game of the week, the Vikings traveled to Omaha to take on Omaha Skutt Catholic.
The Skyhawks, No. 1 in Class B and No. 2 in all classes in the Omaha World-Herald ratings, showed why they are a top team in the state.
Waverly jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first.
A single and an error put two Vikings on base to bring up Malia Thoms.
Thoms crushed a three-run home run to center to give the Vikings a good start.
Things wouldn’t go so smoothly when the Vikings were in the field though.
The Skyhawks would use a big fly of their own to grab two runs in the bottom of the first inning.
In the second, Skutt used a more conventional rally combined with three Viking errors to scratch across three more to take a 5-3 lead.
Waverly would finish the day with six errors in total.
Coach Schaefer said defense is usually the Vikings’ strong suit and the team had an off night.
“They put pressure on our defense,” Schaefer said. “We made some costly mistakes that a good team is going to take advantage of and Skutt is well-positioned to challenge us.”
The loss continues a pattern for the Vikings, as all six have come against Class A or rated Class B teams.
The only loss Waverly has to an unrated team was a 4-2 loss to Class A Omaha Westside, Aug. 23 at the Cougar Classic.