Nebraska Crowns Softball State Champions at Connie Claussen Field
By: Rob Else
The Nebraska State Softball tournament started last Wednesday at Smith Softball Complex in Hastings and wrapped up with the championship games on Monday at Connie Claussen Field on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Omaha. It was the first year for the new format in which the championship games were moved to Omaha to the beautiful new Classen Field. Championship games for each class were also televised for the first time.
The change was huge success.
Over 4400 tickets were sold for Monday night’s championship games. Last year, 6800 tickets were sold for the entire tournament in Hastings. You could feel the electricity in the air and the atmosphere was amazing. It was standing room only to watch six teams play at the highest level in the state.
Class C – Ashland-Greenwood Wins First Ever State Championship
In the first game of the night, No 1. Ashland-Greenwood beat No 2. Bishop Neumann 2-0. It was the first state softball title in school history for the Bluejays. Both pitchers were tough in the circle, combining for 19 strikeouts. Sophia Dill got the win for Ashland-Greenwood pitch a complete game with eight strikeouts and four walks. Dill pitched around bases loaded situations in the second and third inning. The Cavaliers stranded 14 base runners and couldn’t come up with the timely hit they need. The Bluejays scored on an RBI single by Reese Fisher in the sixth and a solo home run by Ellie Stein in the seventh.
Class B – Northwest goes back-to-back
No. 2 Northwest knocked off No. 1 Blair, 9-8, to claim their second straight state title. The Vikings got a two-out single by Kyra Ray in the bottom of the seventh to walk of the Bears. The lead changed five times throughout the game. Blair would get ahead, but the Vikings always had an answer. At the plate, Northwest was led by Reyse Zobel (2025). The junior was 4-4 with a home run, a double, and two RBI.
Class A – Papillion Takes Home 17th State Title
Papillion-Lavista used a 5-run 5th inning to take the lead and beat No. 2 Millard North 10-3. The Monarchs trailed 2-1 going into the top of the 5th but scored five runs to lead 6-2. They would add on another run in the 6th and 3 more runs in the 7th. Monarch pitcher Amanda Gibilisco (2025) kept the Mustang hitters off balance all night with a good mix of change ups. At the plate, Presley Ivener (2024) and Avery Wolfe (2025) each had three hits. The win capped off the 17th Class A state softball championship for the Monarchs.