WAVERLY -- The Beatrice Neapco Juniors are one win away from a state championship and they'll have two chances to get it done.
Beatrice defeated Blair 5-2 on Tuesday, assuring that they'll need to be beaten twice on Wednesday by either Pierce or Waverly.
Trey Henning was dominant on the mound, pitching nearly a complete game in the win. He pitched 6.2 innings, giving up two unearned runs on seven hits while striking out 10 and walking none. He was forced out of the game due to the pitch limit in the seventh inning. It took Wyatt McGinty just one pitch to record the final out.
Henning's ability to go so deep in the game insures Beatrice will have most of their remaining pitching staff available for Wednesday's championship.
Beatrice scored first in the game against Blair. In the bottom of the first inning, Jaxson Blackburn ignited the offense with a lead off double and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Luke Feist's ground out allowed Blackburn to score, making it 1-0 early.
Neapco wasn't done in the first inning. Deegan Nelson got things going again with a single before Colton Belding walked and Luke Hamilton singled to load the bases with one out. Dominik Salazar then grounded out, allowing another run to score, making it 2-0.
Blair's only two runs came in the top of the third. A lead off single and two defensive errors by Beatrice led to the two runs, tying the game at 2-2. Blair had a chance to add more runs in the inning with runners at second and third and one out, but Henning would get a strikeout and a fly out to end the threat.
The score would remain tied unto the bottom of the fourth when Beatrice broke through for three runs. Salazar got things going with a single and Collin Mangnall's bunt single put runners at first and third with one out. Josh Buhr then walked to load the bases.
A wild pitch allowed one run to score and Blackburn's two RBI single scored two more to make it 5-2.
Blair went down in order in the fifth inning. They got their lead off hitter on in the sixth inning, but a strikeout and a double play turned by Luke Hamilton and Blackburn ended the inning.
Blair got their lead off hitter on again in the top of the seventh, but a line drive caught by third basemen Trevin Lang turned into a double play. That play ended up being big as the next two Blair hitters singled, forcing Beatrice to change pitchers due to the pitch limit.
Wyatt McGinty's first pitch was swung on and popped up to Trevin Lang at third base. Lang made the catch, ending the game with Beatrice winning 5-2.
Blackburn led the way for Beatrice with a double, a single, two RBI's and one run scored. Mangnall had two singles and a run scored. Deegan Nelson, Hamilton and Salazar had a single each.
The first championship game will take place at 1 p.m. on Wednesday at Lawson Park in Waverly. If a second game is necessary, it will take place after the first game concludes.