CRETE — The Gering softball team put a scare into the No. 3 Crete Bluejays Saturday in the Class B-3 district finals, but the eastern Nebraska school came back to take the final two games to end the Bulldogs’ record-breaking season.
Gering slammed four home runs in game one, including two from Kiana Island, in posting a 6-1 win. Needing just one win to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 2002, the Bulldogs saw a different Crete team that came back to win game two 13-0 before getting the third game 11-0 to advance to the state tournament next week in Hastings.
Gering ended their season at 21-12.
Gering senior shortstop Calista Muhr, who had several hits on Saturday, said they had a nice season.
“Oh, wow, where do I even start. We all have had an amazing season, especially us seniors,” Muhr said. “I don’t remember ever having so much fun on a team like I have this year. We all got to know each other and avoid any potential drama with each other and just formed a family together which pushed us to the winning/positive mindset.”
Muhr said they broke some records along the way, too.
“There were a few records we broke this season. Our pitcher Maddy Wiese broke the strikeout record, Kiana broke the single person home run record by two, and we broke the team home run record extremely early in the season. Our coach thinks that we broke the win record for a single season.”
Gering coach Tim Gonzales agrees that they had a record-breaking season.
“We had a very good season,” Gonzales said. “We had 21 wins on the season and Kiana [Island] broke the home run record with nine and she probably broke the career RBI record and she had 110 RBIs, and I am pretty sure she broke that record, too. We had a great season. Maddy Wiese broke the season record for strikeouts. No one wants to end like this, but our goal this year was to win a B-10 subdistrict championship and a district championship. To finish in the top 16 with a lot of teams in that class is big. We have a lot to look up to.”
Gonzales said his team was hitting on all cylinders by swinging a mean bat and some precision pitching from Maddy Wiese.
“The first game we played well,” he said. “We played great defense. We had great pitching. We had timely hitting, and we were able to secure the game one victory. The second they adjusted in the box and they timed out Maddy. They hit good and they fielded good and played good softball.”
Muhr said they were fired up in the first game and actually didn’t play badly in the second and third games as well.
“We played extremely well together today in all of the games,” she said. “We didn’t allow much to get in our heads when we messed up, which really helped us sustain the win in the first game. I think our energy in the first game was very intense but then, the last two games, we kind of laid back and you could tell we went all out the first game.”
Gonzales said Crete is a good team and to get that first game win, shows how good Gering is.
“They are definitely a quality team,” he said. “After we won that first game, we might have underestimated their ability to adjust. In that first game, we were able to keep them at bay and keep them guessing. In that second and third game, we just did not get anything established like pitching or hitting.”
Gering outhit Crete 8-2 in the first game. The big hits for Gering all came from the long ball.
Gering struck first with three runs in the third. Brylee Dean started the hitting attack with a 2-run home run followed by a solo shot by Kiana Island.
With Wiese’s pitching, where she limited the Bluejay hitters to just two hits while striking out four, the defense played strong. Gering added three more runs in the seventh. Wiese got things started with a solo home run to make it 4-0. Dean then singled and Island ripped her second dinger of the game to put the Bulldogs up 6-0.
Wiese, Dean, and Island all had two hits each. Island had three RBIs, while Dean had two.
The second and third games were different stories. The second contest saw Crete outhit Gering 10-3 and put the game away with a 9-run third inning.
Gering managed just three hits in the contest from Dean, Calista Muhr, and Ashland Todd.
Crete’s second-game victory force the if-necessary game ant the Bluejays continued offensively like they left off in game two. Crete scored five runs each in the first and second innings to lead 10-0 after two innings.
Crete outhit Gering 10-3 in the final contest. Gering’s hits came from Wiese, Muhr, and Kelsey Bohnsack.
Muhr is one of a handful of seniors that played their final games on Saturday. Besides Muhr, others that took off the uniform for the final time as a Bulldog included Island, Hannah Splattstosser, Ashland Todd, Kelsey Bohnsack, Victoria Brady, and Destinee Harden.
Muhr said she, and the other seniors, had a good ride and she will take many memories from this season.
“I was so excited to have had the chance to get into the state tournament. The entire senior group had our eyes on the prize. We were so ready to get the opportunity to make it to state for the first time in forever,” Muhr said. “When we lost, it was pretty heartbreaking, but our spirits are high and we’re ready to take on any other challenges like college softball or anything that we want to do and succeed in in our future.
“I’m definitely going to miss playing with all of the girls. They made everything fun, even losing. i can’t wait to see where they turn up throughout the years.”
Gering 003 000 3 – 6 8 4
Crete 000 000 1 – 1 2 1
WP – Maddy Wiese.
HR – Brylee Dean, Kiana Island 2, Maddy Wiese.
Crete 409 – 13 10 0
Gering 000 – 0 3 2
LP – Maddy Wiese.
Gering 000 0—0 3 2
Crete 551 0 – 11 10 0
LP – Brylee Dean.