Wayne 18-under softball team faces tough competition in South Dakota

The Wayne 18U Dirt Devils probably don’t want to play another game in South Dakota anytime soon. Wins were hard to come by for the Devils this past week as they played six games north of the Nebraska border, winning just one of those to fall to 11-9-1 on the year. Wayne’s final game in the 29th annual Yankton Girls Softball Association Tournament came down to the last play. With the game tied at 10 and the Scotland Highlanders batting in the bottom of the eighth, the South Dakota squad got a crucial hit on a 2-2 count to bring the game-winning run across home plate, stealing an 11-10 victory from Wayne’s 18s on Sunday morning at the Yankton Summit Activities Center.

The Dirt Devils actually outhit Scotland, 11-10, but they just couldn’t bring enough runs around to change the outcome. Erica Brown, Hope O'Reilly and Rachel Hobbs all had multiple hits for Wayne, with Brown leading the way, as she managed a hit in each of her four at bats. Brown also started the game on the pitcher’s mound, allowing five runs on five hits, striking out one and walking one before Hobbs took over. She surrendered four runs on five hits over six and a third innings, striking out 13. Wayne closed out its three opening day tournament games on Saturday evening with its only win of the weekend, an 8-2 defeat of the Rapid City Rage.

The Devils opened up the scoring in the bottom of the first inning with Taytum Sweetland doubling on a 1-2 count to bring in one of the four runs for Wayne in the opening frame. The local 18s had another 11-hit outing against Rapid City, led by Aliah Shulz, Brown and Hobbs, with two hits apiece. Hobbs also earned the pitching win, striking out six and walking one while allowing two hits and two runs over four innings. Brown came in to relieve her in the fifth. Wayne had a tough time in the batter’s box against the Sioux Falls Cyclones in the Dirt Devils’ second game on Saturday, as they watched an early lead slip away and couldn’t recover in an 11-1 loss.

Liberty Titiml led Wayne’s 18s offensively with two hits in two at bats. Brown took the loss on the hill, allowing five hits and five runs while striking out two and walking one in a single inning of pitching. Wayne’s opening game of the YGSA tourney on Saturday morning was another tough pill to swallow, as the Dirt Devils fell behind Midwest United early and couldn’t come back in a 6-0 loss at Sertoma Park in Yankton, S.D. Wayne couldn’t manage a single hit, and Hobbs allowed four in her two innings of pitching. She also gave up four runs while striking out two batters and walking another in the loss.

Prior to the weekend tournament, Wayne got a feel for what the South Dakota teams were going to throw its way with a doubleheader in Yankton against the Fury Red softballers last Tuesday, June 15. The 18U Devils fell by a single run, 6-5, in game one – another contest decided on the final play of the game. Yankton was down, 5-4, in the bottom of the sixth inning when a Fury batter singled to score two runners. It was yet another game where Wayne lost, despite outhitting its opponent, 11-6. Wayne’s Mikaela McManigal was perfect at the plate with three hits in three at bats. Meanwhile, Hobbs took the pitching “L,” going five and two-thirds innings, sitting four Yankton batters while allowing five runs on six hits.

In the second game, Wayne let a 4-2 lead slip away, as Yankton managed a 4-4 tie thanks to a bases loaded walk in the top of the fourth inning.  All four of Wayne’s runs came in the second inning with Kylen Robbins and Kendall Dorey driving in runners with their hits in the frame. Following Tuesday night’s home doubleheader with the Norfolk Rogue, Wayne will compete in the Nebraska USSSA Class B State Softball Tournament in Bellevue, starting Friday afternoon. The Dirt Devils will play Hastings at 3:30 p.m. and the Nebraska Stealth (Papillion) at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

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