Juniors take Wood Bat title, Seniors second
Both Wayne American Legion Post 43 baseball teams reached the finals of the Wood Bat Tournament over the weekend in Wakefield, and the Juniors came away with first-place honors while the Seniors settled for a runner-up finish.
In the Juniors game, Wayne spotted Creighton a run early, then took control down the stretch to post a 6-1 win in the finals at Eaton Field.
Wayne took the lead for good in the fourth, thanks to a two-out error that brought Hagan Miller and Gunnar Jorgensen home. Wayne picked up an insurance run in the sixth when Trevor DeBoer scored on a wild pitch, then put it out of reach with three in the seventh, thanks to back-to-back doubles by Miller and DeBoer.
DeBoer and Jorgensen both had two hits and Miller had two RBI and scored twice in the win. Jacob Kneifl went the distance, throwing a four-hit gem with 12 strikeouts and no walks.
The Juniors got to the finals with two wins in pool play, shutting out Lennox (S.D.) 2-0 and blowing out Wisner-Pilger-Dodge-Howells 17-3.
In the win over Lennox, DeBoer pitched 6 2/3 innings of four-hit baseball, striking out six to get the win. Wayne had just two hits, as Josh Lutt and Kneifl both had singles. Lutt scored both of Wayne’s runs in the game.
Against W-P-D-H, Wayne blew the game open with a seven-run second inning and cranked out eight hits in the contest. Reid Korth had three hits and three RBI, Miller added two hits and two RBI and Lutt scored four runs, with Miller and Korth adding three apiece. Three pitchers combined on the one-hit effort, with Blake Bartos getting the win.
In the Seniors battle, Wayne battled undefeated Beresford (S.D.) for much of the game, but five errors hurt the hometown effort in a 5-3 defeat.
Wayne trailed 1-0 in the third, but took the lead on a two-run single by Miller, scoring Lutt and Justin Dean for a 2-1 advantage.
Beresford tied the game in the top of the fourth, but Wayne retook the lead in the bottom half when Payten Gamble scored on a passed ball to make it 3-2.
A double and an error in the fifth gave Beresford the lead for good, and another error scored an insurance run as they were able to finish off Wayne to take the first-place finish.
Jorgensen had two of Wayne’s five hits in the game, including a double. Tucker Nichols pitched well in a losing effort, striking out six and walking three in 6 1/3 innings.
Wayne went 3-0 in pool play in the tournament, beating Ainsworth (14-0), Pierce (5-0) and Lennox (11-3) to reach the final.
In the Ainsworth game, Wayne batted around twice in the first inning, as all nine batters scored in the first time through the lineup and three more came home in the second rotation for a 12-run opening inning.
Four of Wayne’s seven hits in the first inning were doubles. Gamble opened the game with a double, and Wayne had three in a row later as Ryan Jaixen, Gamble and Tyler Lutt had consecutive two-baggers.
Seven players had hits in the game, as Gamble had three and Jaixen and Brennan O’Reilly both had two. Adam Bentjen and Jaixen combined on the one-hit shutout, striking out a total of seven batters.
Wayne posted a 5-0 shutout against Pierce Saturday evening, as Bentjen and Tyler Lutt combined on a one-hitter with 10 strikeouts. O’Reilly tripled and Zane Jackson doubled to highlight a six-hit effort. Wayne scored two in the first and three in the fourth to post the shutout.
On Sunday, Wayne defeated Lennox 11-3, pulling away late with two in the fifth and three in the sixth.
Jorgensen, Bentjen and Jackson each had two hits. Jackson had a double and a triple, while Bentjen, Dean and Gamble each had doubles. Gamble, Bentjen and Tyler Lutt each scored two runs. Tyler Lutt pitched the win, striking out four.
Both Wayne teams play at Ponca on Monday and are home Wednesday to host Columbus Lakeview.