HASTINGS – The Crete softball team remained one of the hottest squads in the state Thursday after beating Gretna 7-4 in the Class B state semifinal.
The Cardinals jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on a two run single by Lexi Mach. Gretna was able to close the gap in the third when a bases-loaded walk scored a run. They then took a 3-2 lead on a two-run home run for Addy Watts in the fourth inning.
Gretna pitcher Lexi Burkhardt retired 10 consecutive hitters in the middle innings, but Crete broke out in the fifth with singles by Bridgette Nichols and Jayda Weyand and a walk by Izzy Eltze to load the bases for Morgan Maly, who launched a ball over the left field fence for a grand slam to go up 6-3.
Gretna got one back in the sixth, but Cassidy Skillett hit an RBI double in the seventh and pitcher Camry Moore struck out the final two batters to seal the win.
Maly led the Crete offense, going 2-for-3 with the grand slam, a walk, and two runs scored while Mach was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Moore pitched the complete game, allowing seven hits and three walks while striking out eight.
Crete is now one win away from the state championship and will face the winner of an elimination game between Gretna and Seward. The state final will be at 2 p.m. on Ol’ Red 99.5.