Pierce puts the final nail in Wayne’s coffin, Juniors end season at area tourney


The Wayne Juniors fought valiantly, but they ultimately fell just short of a trip to the Class B Area 5 Tournament final following a 1-0 loss to Pierce in an extra-inning elimination game Monday night in Albion. The Blue Devils end their season with a final record of 11-9.

Monday night’s loss was Wayne’s third to Pierce this season, with the last one coming by the same score exactly two weeks prior in the Ralph Bishop League Tournament semifinals. James Dorcey and Devin Anderson accounted for the local Juniors’ only hits in the game. Dorcey also started the game pitching for Wayne, sitting four batters and allowing four hits over eight innings where he threw 110 pitches. Unfortunately for Wyatt Heikes (14 pitches), he was on the mound when Pierce scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Post 43 stayed alive in the area tourney with a big 13-3 win over St. Paul on Sunday afternoon.

After scoring three runs in the bottom of the opening inning, the Wayne boys added eight in an emphatic second inning and followed that up with two more in the third to separate themselves from the opposing Post 119 Juniors. Wayne batters contributing to the big second inning scoring fest included Zack McManigal, Jase Dean, Aiden Liston, Dorcey and Anderson, as they all drove in runs. Ryan Karsky was the high scorer for the day, as he crossed home plate on three occasions throughout the course of the game.

Three different Wayne pitchers spent time on the mound in the contest, with Heikes getting the start and lasting two innings before Cooper Zara took over for a couple of innings to strike out two St. Paul batters. Dean came in at the end and sat three St. Paulers to close out the game. With severe weather threating the area on Saturday night, Wayne’s showdown with top-seeded Albion became a two-parter, starting on Saturday and concluding Sunday morning. Consistent scoring on the part of Albion was the difference, as the host squad scored at least one run in all but the fourth and fifth innings to get past Wayne in an 8-2 decision.

McManigal (two RBIs), Dorcey, Heikes and Zara were responsible for the Blue Devils’ four hits. Zara and Anderson accounted for the two runs. Listen got the start on the hill, throwing 109 pitches over the course of five innings where he registered seven K’s and walked five batters while surrendering six runs (four earned) on five hits. Wayne had the hot bats in the team’s opening round victory over Plainview. After a somewhat slow start, the Devils posted six and five runs in the top of the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, to cruise into the next round with a 13-2 victory on Friday afternoon.

Wayne’s Juniors got on the board in the first inning when Liston singled on a 3-2 count to score two runs. The locals tallied six more in the fourth inning with McManigal, Heikes, Dorcey and Dean all bringing in runs in the top of the side.  Post 43 outhit Plainview, 10-6, with Dorcey (double, single), Dean, Liston and Heikes leading the way with two hits apiece. Dorcey toed the rubber for four and two-thirds innings where he allowed two runs off five hits while walking one. Heikes pitched the final third of an inning and struck out one of the two Plainview batters he faced to pick up the save.

Prior to the area tourney, Wayne played one final regular season game at home against Wisner-Pilger/Howells-Dodge last Wednesday, July 7. After falling behind early, the Blue Devils took the lead late in the game to claim the “W,” 10-4, in their final game at Hank Overin Field this year. The game was tied at four with Wayne batting in the bottom of the sixth when an error (W-P/H-D had nine in the contest) scored one run. That seemed to open the floodgates, as the boys in blue put up six more runs in the decisive final inning.

Wayne’s offensive firepower was led by McManigal, Heikes, Karsky, Liston, Dean and Anderson, who all drove in runs in the bottom of the sixth. Dorcey and Anderson each managed two hits in the matchup – both recorded a double and a single – to lead their team. Heikes started the game pitching for Wayne. He surrendered four runs on four hits over two innings where he struck out three and walked one batter. Anderson secured the win for the home club with one K, one walk and no hits or runs allowed in his one inning of hurling the baseball. Liston also threw three innings of relief out of the bullpen.