HASTINGS, Neb. — Tim Roberson definitely is not the dramatic type.
So when the Lincoln Southeast softball coach got teary-eyed Wednesday after the Knights’ 9-8, eight-inning victory over Grand Island, it was obvious this wasn’t just another first round Class A state tournament win.
It wasn’t flawless — the Knights committed four errors — but Southeast overcame those obstacles to beat the Islanders for the fifth time this season.
“These girls persevered, they never gave up,” Roberson said. “If you get knocked down three times, you better get up four times. It’s the nature and the demon of the game sometimes.”
No. 3-ranked Southeast moved into the winner’s bracket for a second round matchup with No. 2 Millard South. The Patriots routed Papillion-La Vista South 12-4 in five innings in a rematch of the teams that played in the 2012 Class A state title game.
The other two winners were No. 1 Papillion-La Vista — which blasted Millard West 10-2 in six innings — and No. 8 Lincoln North Star. The Gators defeated No. 4 Lincoln Southwest 3-0.
Thursday’s 11:30 a.m. games will feature Southeast against Millard South and Papio against North Star. The winners of those two games will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, with the winner of that game advancing to Friday’s 2 p.m. championship game.
The first two teams eliminated Wednesday night were Lincoln Southwest and Papillion-La Vista South. Millard West defeated the Silver Hawks 7-3 and Grand Island ended Papio South’s season with a 4-2 victory.
After Southeast took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, Grand Island bounced back for four runs in the top of the third. That's the inning in which the Knights committed all four of their errors.
The bottom of the fourth is where Roberson’s pride in the 30-5 Knights began to come out. Southeast scored five runs to take a 6-4 lead.
What got the inning started was a one-out solo home run to center field by shortstop Erin Lockhart.
“That put the heart back into the team,” Roberson said.
Singles, sacrifices and one Grand Island error blended together to produce the next four runs. But the Islanders weren't finished, scoring once in the fifth and twice in the seventh to take a 7-6 lead.
Southeast scratched out one run in the bottom of the seventh on a double by Lockhart that brought home left fielder Taylor Roscoe, who reached base on a single, to tie the game 7-7. That came after the Knights had gone down in order in the fifth and sixth innings.
Grand Island took an 8-7 lead in the top of the eighth. But three errors by the Islanders got the two runs home that Southeast needed to win its 10th first round game in 15 trips to state.
Millard South demonstrated that it’s serious about winning a third straight title in the rout of Papio South, though the 29-3 Patriots got off to a shaky start.
A hit batsman and a walk led to two runs for the Titans in the top of the first inning, but the Patriots responded by knocking the ball around the park.
“We had seven innings to get to runs, so there was no reason to panic,” Patriots coach Steve Kerkman said.
Millard South tied the game in the bottom of the first then scored three times in the second, two more in the third and four in the fourth to go up 11-2.
Papillion-La Vista had a similar performance against Millard West sans the shaky start. Leadoff hitter Gina Metzler was 3-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Lincoln North Star’s path to victory was just as effective. The Gators scored their first run in the fourth inning, then added two insurance runs in the sixth.