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Northwest could see familiar faces at state tournament starting with Seward

Northwest could see familiar faces at state tournament starting with Seward

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Northwest celebrates on the field after winning game two of a best two-out-of-three series against Bennington in district softball. The Vikings won the first two games to punch their ticket to the state tournament in Hastings. (Independent/Carissa Soukup)

The Class B state softball tournament might feel like just another regular day at the field for Northwest.

The Vikings are certainly familiar with most of the competition they’ll face throughout the double-elimination competition, which begins Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Smith Complex in Hastings.

Northwest (25-10) is joined by two other teams that competed in the Subdistrict 8 tournament on those same fields last week — Hastings and Grand Island Central Catholic.

Fellow Central Conference members Crete and Seward also qualified.

“Our schedule really prepared us well for the state tournament,” first-year head coach Mitch Sadd said. “We faced tough competition and most of the best teams in our class.”

Six of Northwest’s 10 losses came to Class A teams. The fourth-seeded Vikings went 1-3 against second-seeded Hastings and 2-1 against sixth-seeded GICC.

They will be going for their third win in as many tries this season against fifth-seeded Seward (24-8) in the opening round. The Vikings won 6-1 on Sept. 26 in the Crete Invitational and 4-2 on Oct. 1 in the Central Conference tournament championship game.

“It’s a good thing when you see the same teams so much since you figure out their pitchers,” Sadd said. “But at the same time, they figure out your pitching and have seen your signals a lot.”

After a 6-8 start to the season, things turned around for Northwest. It reeled off 15 consecutive wins before Hastings snapped that streak in subdistrict play.

Sophomore Ava Laurent has compiled a 19-6 record in the circle with a 1.93 ERA.

Offensively, junior shortstop Reba Mader is hitting .348 with 31 RBIs and 33 runs. Junior first baseman Ahdriana Medrano is averaging .370 with 30 RBIs and 32 runs. Sophomores Grace Baasch and Avyn Urbanski are both hitting at a .393 clip.

Seward has lost a total of six games to other teams in the Class B field. Junior Claire Geidel is hitting .511 with 45 RBIs, 15 home runs and 39 runs. Senior infielder Grace Hamling is batting .473 with 10 home runs, 32 RBIs and 35 runs.

Senior pitcher Sydney Parra is 23-7 with a 2.46 ERA.

“Class B has really tough competition,” Sadd said. “We’ve seen just about everybody except (top-seeded Omaha) Skutt, and they’ve got a good team. It’s going to come down to who makes the least mistakes.”

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