For the second straight day, the Wayne High baseball team staved off elimination with a seventh-inning comeback Tuesday night in the Class C State Baseball Tournament.
Down 7-2 going into the final inning, the Blue Devils exploded for six runs in the seventh to come back and beat Central City/Fullerton/Centura 8-7, avenging a 7-1 loss to the Kernels in Saturday's opening round.
The Kernels put up three runs in the first inning at Omaha Westside's Warrior Field, taking advantage of a passed ball and an error by the Wayne defense to score two, with the third coming home on a triple by Jakob Ruhl.
Wayne would put up single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Wyatt Heikes singled home Brooks Kneifl with the first run, and Devin Anderson scored Will Leseberg with the second to cut the deficit to one.
The Kernels answered with two in the fifth and two more in the sixth and were three outs away from ending Wayne's season, but the Blue Devils had other ideas as they tore apart what was left of the Kernels' pitching and came through with the season-saving inning.
Alex Rodriguez started the inning with a walk and was put out on a fielder's choice on Anderson's grounder to third. Gavin Redden followed with a single and Kneifl was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out.
Aiden Liston reached on an error, scoring Anderson, Redden came home on a wild pitch and Wyatt Heikes walked, setting up an RBI single by Kaleb Moormeier that plated Kneifl.
With the bases loaded, Jason Dean drew a walk to score Liston and pull Wayne within a run. Kaden Keller than laid down a squeeze bunt and Heikes raced home to tie the game. Central City then threw late to first and the ball bounced away, allowing Moormeier to come home with the go-ahead run.
Liston, who came on in relief of Moormeier, set the Kernels down in the seventh and set the Kernels down in order, and the Blue Devils celebrated the amazing come-from-behind win, improving to 16-8 on the season.
Both teams had five hits in the game and Keller's two RBI proved to be the winner. Moormeier pitched 4 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking five, and Liston got the win in relief.
Wayne faces Omaha Roncalli on Wednesday at 4 p.m at Warrior Field and will need to win two to advance to Friday's 1 p.m. championship agianst either Malcolm or Platteview at UNO's Anderson Field.
(Complete story in this week's edition of The Wayne Herald.)
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