The comeback kids

Patriots battle back to runner-up after losing first game of tournament


Courtesy Photo

The Yutan-Mead Patriots pose with their state runner-up trophy. In back (left to right) are coaches Mike Davis and Ron Helmick, Andi Nelson, Alexis Polak, Sophia Brennan, Kaiti Hansen, Hailey Martin, Riley Hannan, and coach Bill Watts; middle (left to right): Rylee Kirchmann, Maycee Hays, Ella Watts, Emma Abraham, Alexis Pehrson, and Aubrie Pehrson; and front (left to right): coach Brooke Campbell, Laycee Josoff, Shaylynn Campbell, Emily Hebenstreit, Meghan Richards, Kendyl Egr, Laura Kuhr, Savanna Hassler, Taylor Novak, and coach Ryan Glatter.

The Yutan-Mead Patriots have made their comeback, not only qualifying for state for the first time in twelve years but battling back to earn the runner-up spot after losing the first game at state.

The state tournament started off rough with the Patriots losing their first game to Malcolm. The game ended after the third inning with Malcolm ahead 13-1   

“We didn’t play our best but I think the game was more on the mental side, and we were in our heads a bit,” said Ella Watts, junior second baseman and pitcher. “I think we were a little nervous.”

Despite the loss, the Patriots picked themselves up, winning the next four games in a row. First, they beat Cozad 5-1 with pitcher Shaylynn Campbell getting 12 strikeouts. After that, they beat Kearney Catholic 15-4. Then they rematched Malcolm after coming back from the losers bracket and won 14-4. Finally, they defeated Guardian Angel Central Catholic 4-0, which brought them into the championship game.

The team ended up losing the championship game 0-6 to Bishop Neumann and took runner-up, but many of the girls are still happy with the way the season ended.

Junior Kaiti Hansen jogs into a crowd of cheering teammates after hitting the first home run of the Cozad game. That was Hansen’s fifth home run of the season. (Ginger Eikmeier)

Watts said, “The last state game we played loose and just had fun. I think that everybody had a good time. Even though we ended up getting second, I still think it was fun.”

Head coach Ryan Glatter was also pleased with the team’s performance.

Even though we didn’t win our last contest and finished runner-up in the state tournament, I was extremely proud of all our players and coaches,” Glatter said. “They showed everyone that was paying attention what they were all about.” 

Despite being proud of how they did the team still hopes to next year not only make it to the state championship but also win the championship and take the state title. 

“I just hope that we start off strong next season and just plow through everyone, to do what we did this year, but do it better,” said Shaylynn Campbell, junior pitcher and second baseman.