WISNER, Neb. | Wayne’s softball team is returning to the Class B state tournament for the 11th consecutive year.
Tori Kniesche twirled a pair of no-hit shutouts for the Blue Devils Monday during B-4 district play at Wisner River Park. She struck out 11 in an 8-0 semifinal win over Wisner-Pilger, then fanned 10 in an 8-0 championship win over David City/East Butler.
"It's just great to be able to take another team down there for the opportunity to play for a state championship," said Wayne coach Rob Sweetland. "I feel like there are a lot of people who do not think we belong there and our girls want to prove otherwise."
Jamie Gamble and Abby Ankeny were each 2-for-3 with two RBIs in the semifinal win. Josie Thompson also went 2-for-3 while Annie Kniesche doubled.
A sophomore, Tori Kniesche pitched a perfect game in the finals for Wayne (28-3), retiring each of the 15 batters she faced and also contributed a double. Her older sister, Annie, a junior, doubled and singled.
"Tori pitched great," said Sweetland. "I was a little concerned that we haven't played in a week, but we were able to get on the fields in Wayne last week."
Jenna Trenhaile, one of Wayne’s three seniors, homered and singled. Gamble, her classmate, singled and doubled while another senior, Masyn Dorey, also doubled.
The Blue Devils, winners of 21 of their last 22 games, are the fourth seed and will open state tournament play at Smith Complex in Hastings against fifth-seeded Gretna.
Kniesche, a hard-throwing righthander, is 26-2 on the season and leads Class B in strikeouts (288) and earned run average (1.03). She's allowed only 41 hits in 136 innings this season.
"Everyone on the team is playing loose and having fun," said Sweetland. "A little different approach to some teams we have had in the past.
"Gretna will be a very big challenge, but it is one these girls will take head on."