Deja vu all over again...

Wayne wins 1-0 thriller to earn state trip


HASTINGS — One of baseball legend Yogi Berra’s most famous remarks was “It’s deja vu all over again.”

He may have been talking about the 2024 Wayne High baseball team, who went on the road for the second straight year and came away with the same result to punch their ticket to the state tournament.

After beating Louisville 3-1 on Thursday, the Blue Devils met up with top-seed and B-5 district tournament host Adams Central in an exciting championship game Friday afternoon at Duncan Field.

“It was very similar from last year, that’s for sure,” coach Adam Hoffman said after the win. “It came down to who was going to get the big hit and both teams had the opportunity and we finally got it in the eighth. This was probably one of the best games I’ve been a part of, there were a lot of great defensive plays and it was a really good game.”

As it was last year, the game turned into a battle of pitchers and was decided with a single run as Wayne won an eight-inning thriller with a 1-0 victory over the Patriots.

Last year, Wayne beat Adams Central on the same field by the same score, but this year it would take an extra inning for the visitors to break the seven-inning deadlock.

That winning opportunity came in the eighth when Kaleb Moormeier singled and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jaxson Kneifl. Gavin Redden then followed with a one-out double that brought home Moormeier with the game’s only run.

Redden then finished the deal on the mound, throwing a 112-pitch complete game that included six strikeouts, five hits, one walk and one hit batter. He got the final batter to hit a rolling grounder to senior first baseman Jase Dean, who scooped it up and stepped on the bag to finish the exciting win.

“He’s been that guy all year for us whether it’s on the mound, he rose to the occasion there and when we needed a hit he got that,” Hoffman said of the junior. “He did that at West Point earlier this year to break a tie game and did it earlier in the year against Pender when we needed an insurance run and he got a leadoff double to start it. He’s just a steady Eddie who doesn’t get phased by too much.”

Redden had two of Wayne’s five hits, along with Moormeier, Devin Anderson and Calvin Ankeny.

Had Redden not been able to get the last batter out, he was at his maximum for number of pitchers. While Hoffman said he was glad he got the job done, he felt confident that they could have finished the job if they had to make a change.

“If we would have had to go with Adrian (Contreras), who was next, we felt confident with him to get out of the inning,” Hoffman said. “I was happy to see Gavin finish it because of the performance that he had, and you just don’t want to give them more chances. They’re a state tournament team so you want to end it when you can.”

This year’s journey to state had a lot of familiarity to last year, when the Blue Devils made a magical run to a third-place finish with an amazing comeback win over Central City/Centura and coming within an out of reaching the finals before losing to Omaha Roncalli.

“We have a great group of kids who come to practice and work hard every day,” he said. “These seniors were in three district championship games in their career and not many seniors can say that, and as we continue hopefully more can say that. They buy in to what we want them to do and they’re coachable and that makes it fun and rewarding as a coaching staff to see those kids get that opportunity.”

In Thursday’s win over Lousiville, the Blue Devils were out-hit 9-2, but took advantage of three errors to survive and advance.

Two of Louisville’s three miscues resulted in Wayne scores. Wayne got a run in the first inning, matched Louisville with a run in the third and put up an insurance run in the fifth to go on to the victory.

While Louisville’s defense struggled, Wayne’s was stellar and was highlighted by Adrian Contreras, who threw out a runner at home from the outfield to prevent a run from scoring.

Dean and Kneifl both had h its in the win, and Gavin Anderson pitched 3 2/3 innings of solid baseball to get the win, striking out five and walking four. Alex Rodrigez came in to get the save in relief.

Wayne will face Malcolm at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday in the first round of the double-elimination tournament at Frerichs Field in Elkhorn, a rematch of a late-season loss by the Blue Devils to the defending spring and summer champions.

“They’re kings of Class C baseball right now, winning last spring and summer,” Hoffman said. “They scored six of 10 runs against us last week with two outs, so they’re a good hitting team. We’ll need to play good defense and take care of ourselves and make sure we’re ready defensively and come up with some two-out hits of our own that change the momentum of the game. We just need to leave everything on the field and let the chips fall wherever and go from there.”

The tournament moves to Tal Anderson Field at UNO on Monday, with Tuesdy games at Papillion-LaVista South and the bracket finals Wednesday at Fricke Field. The championship game is scheduled for Friday, May 17 at Anderson Field.

Class C State Tournament

Saturday at Frerichs Field, Elkhorn

10 a.m. — No. 4 Central City/Centura (18-7) vs. No. 5 Douglas County West (13-5)

12:30 p.m. — No. 2 Platteview (14-9) vs. No. 7 Adams Central (14-7)

4 p.m. — No. 3 Lincoln Christian (15-4) vs. No. 6 Mount Michael (11-11)

6:30 p.m. — No. 1 Malcolm (19-3) vs. No. 8 Wayne (15-7)

Monday at UNO’s Anderson Field

10 a.m. — Malcolm/Wayne loser vs. Central City/AC loser

12:30 p.m. — LC/DCW loser vs. Platteview/MM loser

4 p.m. — Malcolm/Wayne winner vs. Central City/AC winner

6:30 p.m. — LC/DCW winner vs. Platteview/MM winner

Tuesday at Papio-LV South

4 p.m. — Elimination Game

6:30 p.m. — Elimination Game

Wednesday at Fricke Field, Papillion

10 a.m. — Top Bracket final (second game to follow if needed)

4 p.m. — Bottom Bracket final (second game to follow if needed)

Friday, May 17 at Werner Park

12 p.m. — Championship game