Even though Rick Eickholt isn’t Neligh-Oakdale’s head cross county coach anymore, he is still bringing home the hardware.
Eickholt is the most recent recipient of the Jerry Stein Award through the Nebraska Coaches Association, which recognizes different levels of achievement in individual sports such as wrestling and track. The Jerry Stein Award is a platinum level award — the highest possible level — and the scoring is based on meet championships or runner-up finishes. The number of years of the coach’s tenure is also factored in.
“To me, I think this award shows consistency for our program,” he said. “It tells that we aren’t competitive for one or two years, but we are always going to show up and compete well.”
Eickholt said he was updating information at the end of the year when he noticed he was eligible for the award. He informed Activities Director Ron Beacom about the possibility of receiving the honor, and Beacom nominated Eickholt.
When Eickholt received the gold level award years back, he said the platinum award was in the back of his mind. He didn’t know if it would be possible, but goal setting is a huge part of Eickholt’s team programs.
“In the back of my mind, it was always a goal,” he said. “It wasn’t something that I had to do, but I knew it was always there.”
Eickholt said while there are many people to thank, he especially wanted to recognize his high school coach, Phil Hummel and fellow coach, Terry Trautman.
He said Hummel was a huge influence on him going into education and coaching and was also a fantastic role model.
“When I first got into coaching, he told me to surround myself with good people, and that means kids and coaches,” Eickholt said. “I feel very fortunate that I have been able to do that.”
For the 30-plus years that he has been coaching, he said Trautman has been a huge part of all the success and everything the teams have accomplished.
“Coach Trautman has been a rock,” Eickholt said. “He has been there for everything and I can’t thank him enough.”
The Neligh Seniors still have their sights set on a district championship, despite a round start to the post-season.
As the No. 2 seed, Neligh was expected to dominated No. 3 Hooper-Scribner but instead never scored a run, falling 9-0 in five innings at the four-team Class C Area 2 District Tournament in Wisner.
“I told them to forget about it and move forward. Let’s focus on the win and get back in the championship,” said coach Dan Murray. “That’s all you can do. Focus on the next game, take care of business and be ready to go like it is your last game. It’s win or go home time now.”
Errors plague Neligh as Hooper-Scribner managed just two hits in the game. Uncharacteristically sloppy, Neligh bobbled the baseball time and again, allowing easy runs to score.
The Seniors also struggled on the mound as Murray brought in four pitchers in the first two innings as the Hooper-Scribner went up 7-0 after two.
“Basically, we have to show up with fire from the beginning and play,” Murray said. “We had a few spots in there where we showed a little spark. On the mound, Conor did good job and had a couple good innings in there, but we have to show up ready from the start and get after it.”
Despite having Ramold, Jayden Arehart, Cole Belitz and Brock Kester all on the mound Friday, Murray said his pitching rotation won’t change.
“This doesn’t change anything. We have a pitching scheule here through Monday,” he said. “We did figure playing Sunday just in case, so this doesn’t change how we’re going to play from here on out.”
With the loss Neligh, falls into the loser’s bracket and will play at 8 p.m. on Saturday night. Neligh will need a win again on Sunday at 7 p.m. to secure a spot in Monday’s 6 p.m. district final. The winner of that game advances to the state tournament.
“If we show up, we’ll be fine and be right back in the championship on Monday,” Murray said. “We just have to show up ready to play.”
Neligh 000 00 — 0
Hooper-Scribner 160 20 — 9
WP: Austin Peters.
With the heat index near triple digits over the weekend, Steve Simonsen smiled as he walked through the infield in between innings.
The longtime baseball umpire could have been working any number of district legion games. Instead, he worked more than a dozen peewee and pony games — for less money.
“His dedication is incredible,” said Diann Arehart, Quad County Tournament director. “People don’t realize that Steve’s giving up games to stay here and help us ump this tournament.”
Simonsen, who has been a certified umpire for years, spends nearly every evening spring through summer umpiring baseball games. Of course, that’s after officiating baseball in the winter and football in the summer.
“I have other opportunities, but I want to help out the town and the community,” Simonsen said. “Neligh has this tournament in town, and I know how hard it is to get umpires.”
Simonsen, who owns Antelope County Chiropractic & Wellness in Neligh, told Arehart to “put me where you need me” during the week-long youth tournament. Some spent three straight games on the peewee field before taking a game off and then finishing the night on the pony field for more games.
Arehart said having someone with his experience willing to work as many games as needed is unheard of, especially as umpires are at a premium.
“It’s priceless,” Arehart said. “He knows the rules, he knows the kids, he is very calm, he’s consistent. I get few to zero complaints about Steve Simonsen.”
Arehart also said the tournament is key to the local program being able to keep fields up-to-date. Every year, the ball board makes improvements that wouldn’t be possible with the Quad County Tournament, which featured 11 pony and 14 peewee teams this year.
“This tournament means a ton to this community,” she said. “This tournament helps the ball board update the fields. The City does help with the agri-lime, but the ball board did all of the fencing on the fields. That was $13,000, and that’s what this Quad County Tournament means to us.”
Simonsen also is active on the Neligh Chamber of Commerce and with the Neligh Park Board, volunteering to help the community wherever needed. That’s, of course, in between rescue calls as a member of Neligh Rescue, as well.
Being a business owner, Simonsen said he sees the importance of keeping a quality tournament in Neligh and wants to do his part to support the effort.
“This is good for Neligh. It gets a lot of people to town, and they really put on a good tournament,” Simonsen said. “I’ve been to other towns where things aren’t as organized, but being organized does wonders. This is a good tournament.”
The Neligh Seniors are the No. 2 seed heading into the C2 District of the Nebraska American Legion Baseball Tournament.
After two teams dropped out of district play, Neligh is just one of four teams left in the district tournament at Wisner.
Neligh will face No. 3 Hooper-Scribner in the first round of the tourney on Friday, July 19 at 5:30 p.m. The winner will advance to play No. 1 Pender or No. 4 Wisner-Pilger/Dodge-Howells on Saturday night.
See the complete district bracket below:
The Summerland Bobcats volleyball team has been classified as C2 for the upcoming season, according to the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA).
The ACN contacted the NSAA last week to confirm classification, and the NSAA official said the information on their website listing Summerland as D1 was correct. The NSAA the contacted the ACN on Tuesday, July 23, after having changed the classification to C2.
Volleyball schedules were announced on the NSAA website last week. The Lady Bobcats, which will include players from the Clearwater, Ewing and Orchard schools, are set to open their season with a home triangular. They will host Elkhorn Valley and West Holt.
Here is the volleyball schedule from NSAA:
The Neligh Seniors scored 36 runs in the last two nights, sprinting into a three-game win streak mid-way through the season.
Friday's doubleheader at home ended early in both games thanks to the mercy rule as Neligh swept Randolph 12-0 in the opener and 9-1 in the nightcap. Neligh topped Plainview on the road the night before, winning 15-8.
"We're still not where we need to be, but we're doing much better," said coach Dan Murray. "We did a better job of swinging at the pitches we could get and do something with as opposed to the high pitches."
Murray said he was pleased with pitchers Conor Ramold and Hunter Charf. Ramold had two strikeouts and took down Randolph in the third and fourth before being replaced by Andrew Jacobsen, who picked up a pair of strikeouts in the final inning of the second game.
In the opener, Charf finished with five strikeouts. Second baseman Brock Kester connected with Jacobsen at first base on three of the first four batters, making quick work of Randolph.
"They did a really a good job of putting the balls in play and letting the defense do the work for them," Murray said. "There were a lot less walks, and we need to do that to keep them off the bases."
Offensively, Neligh hit the gas early with back-to-back singles from Beau Murray and Cole Belitz to start the game. Both players — and Brock Kester — scored at the top of the order for the early 3-0 lead.
Neligh went through the lineup in the third inning, adding nine runs to put the game out of reach. Neligh had two two outs early in the inning but was unstoppable. Arehart was the first to score after singling to center. Rice and Charf followed up with singles before Brandon Evans was walked.
At the top of the order, Murray hit a two RBI single before Belitz and Kester both added RBIs. Hunter Reestman scored as well, before Arehart crossed the plate for the second time in the inning.
"Everybody played really well," Murray said. "Some players hadn't seen as many at-bats. Jesse Green hit the ball; Brock Kester had a really, really good night. There were a lot of players who hit the ball, got on base and gained experience."
The second game saw more of the same from Neligh. Rice had a two RBI triple in the final inning while Belitz added in a two RBI double in the second inning. Arehart hit a triple in the fourth inning, and Jesse Green added a double in the fifth. Neligh was walked seven times in the second game game.
Murray said by having so few games, only three of his starters were getting repetition on the mound — Belitz, Arehart and Beau Murray. But Charf and Ramold but saw quality action this week as starters, which will help their consistency come district time.
Murray said he was happy to see so many players get experience the last few games, which has been difficult with so few of games. Between the weather, less teams in the area and more players out due to sports camps, rescheduling games has been frustrating.
Murray said Neligh may have a game Monday night at home, but that is uncertain at this time. The Seniors will definitely be back in action Tuesday on the road against the O'Neill Irish.
The Seniors are now 5-3 on the season with its only losses coming to the Knox County teams of Crofton and Creighton/Bloomfield.
Neligh will enter districts in three weeks with only about 13 games under its belt, as opposed to the usual 20 or more. But Murray said he feels confident his team will be ready for the post season.
"We're getting there. I wish we had more games before districts to get there, but we'll be ready. This is a good team," Murray said.
Friday Game 1
Randolph 000 01 - 1
Neligh 050 22 - 9
WP: Conor Ramold.
Friday Game 2
Randolph 000 00 - 0
Neligh 309 0 - 12
WP: Hunter Charf.
Thursday vs. Plainview
Neligh 412 330 2 - 15
Plainview 004 022 0 - 8
WP: Jayden Arehart.
Four Antelope County players and one coach headed back to the gridiron on Saturday night, representing some of the best in eight-man football.
In the 42nd Annual Sertoma Eight-Man All-Star Game, Neligh-Oakdale’s Austin Rice and Elkhorn Valley’s Josh McFarland played for the East team, while Clearwater-Orchard’s Chris Kester and Jake Long, along with their coach Jeff Shabram, were on the West team.
Long kicked off to McFarland to begin the all-star clash at Hastings College. After McFarland’s return, a West defensive player picked off a pass to end the East’s opening drive. The West team pounded the ball down the field on their first possession and Kester capped it off by throwing a 20-yard touchdown pass for a 6-0 lead.
The West continue to roll and capitalized on five East turnovers, turning three of them into touchdowns in the first quarter for an 18-0 advantage. West head coach Jeff Shabram said taking advantage of those turnovers “was huge.”
“We took an 18-0 lead with the bad snap on the punt, and we had another fumble down here with their backs against the wall that we punched in,” Shabram said.
The East bounced back early in the second, putting together an 80-yard drive. Rice caught a 22-yard touchdown pass to put up the first points for the East, cutting it to a 10-point deficit at halftime, 18-8.
Third quarter scoring started with the East taking advantage of a West fumble. After a 27 yard fumble return, the East connected on a 5-yard touchdown pass to Wausa’s Ghatlin Hegge, narrowing the West lead, 18-14.
The teams traded touchdowns to close out the third, making it 26-22 as they headed into the final quarter of play.
A little bit of luck and a lot of skill were with the West side in the fourth as a tipped pass missed the intended receiver, but fell into the hands of another West player for a diving catch. The West picked up a 32-22 win, which evened up the overall series at 21 wins for each team.
“It was a good, close game,” Shabram said. “It was a lot of fun.”
He said it was special to coach two of his OC players again.
“Jake was a leader on defense and Chris had a touchdown pass and ran the offense well,” Shabram said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
They didn’t believe it at first.
When Billy Legate and Matt Ickes were told they had been selected for the Nebraska Eight-Man Football Hall of Fame, they were both skeptical.
“I stopped for a second and said, ‘Seriously, who is this?’” Ickes said of his phone call.
Neither of them knew that an Eight-Man Hall of Fame even existed before Bob McEvoy called them earlier this year.
“I was like, ‘Is this a joke? Are you for real?’” Legate said. “Then I was laughing and I said, ‘You called me before Joel (Makovicka) right?’”
Two coaches, one contributor and 14 players, including Legate, 43, and Ickes, 40, were inducted into the 2019 class on Saturday night.
The inductees and their families were recognized by the Nebraska Eight-Man Football Coaches Association (NEMFCA). The ceremony was held at halftime of the 42nd Annual Sertoma Eight-Man All-Star Game played at Hastings College — a game both Legate and Ickes played in during the mid-1990s.
McEvoy, NEMFCA vice president, said the Hall of Fame selection process began about five years ago when he set up a database of players, stats and records. A few years later, he formed a 12-person committee comprised of “the most respected veteran 8-man coaches” from each region of the state and knowledgeable media members. McEvoy said the committee narrowed down the list into decades. This year’s class of inductees represents the best eight-man high school players from 1990 to 1999.
“Billy Legate and Matt Ickes were very much at the top of everyone's list,” he said.
Others inducted were Casey Beran of Sargent; Clint and Cory Eikmeier of Dodge; John Howell of Mullen; Paul Kosch of Humphrey St. Francis; Steve Kriewald and Glen Snodgrass of North Loup-Scotia; Eric Ryan of Overton; Steve Simon of Falls City Sacred Heart; Andy Zeisler of Butte; Joel and Jeff Makovicka of Brainard, who will enter the hall as "Family Legacy" inductees; coaches Doug Goltz of Falls City and Gordon Pilmore of Dodge; and Huskerland Prep Report publisher Bob Jensen.
Legate was a dominating player for Clearwater High School and Coach Rod Brummels from 1990 to 1993.
He led the Cardinals to the playoffs three times, including a Class D2 State Runner-Up finish in 1993. Legate was a two-time 1st Team All-Conference selection and 1st Team All-State selection as both a running back and linebacker. He was named the Most Valuable Defensive Player of the 1994 Eight-Man All-Star Game.
Legate ended his high school career with three school records: 3,683 career rushing yards, 1,807 yards in one season and 232 tackles in one season. He also holds a D2 state record for the longest touchdown pass play — catching a 79-yard touchdown pass from Seth Brummels in the 1993 state playoffs against Butte — one of his fondest memories of high school football.
Legate said he “never called a play in his whole life,” until that quarterfinal game.
“When Rod (Brummels) was walking out onto the field, I said, ‘Coach! Coach! We’ve got to run this play!’” he said excitedly. “And coach said, ‘Just settle down, I haven’t even thought about that yet.’ I’m telling him we’ve got to run this 44-option pass and he’s like, ‘We’re on like the zero yard line.’”
Coach Brummels said even though it was a risky call, he had faith in Legate after he said, “Just throw it. I’ll catch it.”
On the next play, the coach’s son, quarterback Seth Brummels, made a nice long pass downfield. The powerful running back stayed true to his word and hauled it in for a huge touchdown.
“I knew I’d be wide open because they were keying in on me so hard,” Legate said. “Anyway, we ran that play and it worked out.”
Brummels said that play “sealed the game” for Clearwater.
“We ended up making finals that year because of that,” the coach said. “That was a big play. I knew when I got back to the sideline, my assistant coach asked, ‘What did you call?’ I said, ‘You’re never going to believe what we called.’ But, 79 yards later, it was good.”
It was an exciting play in a big game and a new state record.
“Now we’ve got one in the record books that can only be tied, not beaten, because it was literally 79 ½ yards,” Legate said.
After graduating from Clearwater High School in 1994, Legate attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, playing an instrumental role on three national championship teams. As a fullback and special teams player, he appeared in 44 games for the Huskers.
In 1997, Legate set the strength index record for his position with 1,214 points as well as the squat record for fullbacks at 575 pounds. He was a three-time 1st Team Academic All Big 12 selection and was the 1998 recipient of the Admiral U.S. Grant Sharp Trophy, an award for his unselfish dedication to the team with little or no self acclaim or recognition.
Legate said this award meant a lot to him because it was his senior year and his teammates voted him in.
“But nobody told me anything about it, and then I had to talk,” he said with a laugh. “You could tell the other team, Arizona — they told him. He had written this thing and he had a special speech ready. I had to go up there and wing it.”
Legate said he doesn’t remember what he said, but he remembers the experience.
“It was pretty cool,” he said. “The banquet was actually on an aircraft carrier in San Diego.”
Legate said he is grateful for many of the experiences he had as a Husker football player.
“I didn’t really do much before,” he said. “The first time that I ever went to an away game was the first time I’d ever gotten onto an airplane.”
Legate said it “was a real big deal” for him to have the opportunity to play on special teams as a freshman and earn a letter.
“Everything was kind of a first for me,” he said. “I have a lot of good friends and memories from college. I was kind of at the right time and the right place. I was lucky to get a chance to play and contribute.”
Ickes was a standout football player for the powerful Orchard teams of the mid-1990s.
From 1993 to 1996, he became one of the greatest players in school history and led the Orioles to a Class D1 State Runner-Up finish in 1995. Ickes said the state runner-up finish to cap off his junior season brings back some of his best high school football memories.
“It wasn’t just that,” he said. “We coulda, shoulda, woulda won the state championship, but it was just the whole process as a team.”
Ickes said they “might’ve won one game” his freshman year and picked up a couple more his sophomore season.
“You could see our team getting better, and our teammates getting more excited,” he said. “You could see the community rally around the team and how cool that was. Not only were we having fun on the football field, so was the rest of the town of Orchard. It was an exciting time. Just to be a part of that was cool.”
Ickes was one of the top running quarterbacks of his era, leading his team in rushing during his junior and senior seasons. During the playoff run alone, he rushed for more than 750 yards and 10 touchdowns. Ickes accumulated 1,800 yards rushing in his junior season as well as 37 touchdowns, more than 500 yards passing, more than 115 tackles and eight interceptions. He set school rushing records with 4,500 career yards and 90 touchdowns.
Ickes was honored as the Class D1 Offensive Player of the Year and was also named 1st Team All Conference and 1st Team All-State for two years. He was selected to the 1997 Eight-Man All-Star Game and was also chosen to play in the Nebraska Shrine Bowl.
After graduating from Orchard High School, Ickes walked-on at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he played for five years and was a part of the 1997 national championship Cornhusker team.
“My first year in Lincoln, I was fortunate enough to be on the national championship team, and my senior year, we played for the national championship, but got beat by Miami in the Rose Bowl,” he said.
Ickes said he was lucky to be a part of the Husker football team during such a dominate era.
“I wasn’t a star. I didn’t play a whole lot, but I was there every day and hung in there for five years,” he said.
The newly-inducted Hall of Famer said Saturday was an enjoyable day of reconnecting with other former players.
“The neat thing about this whole deal is a lot of these guys are my age,” Ickes said. “The others I read about in high school growing up, and there are six or eight guys here who I played football with in Lincoln. I know a lot of them from many different facets of the whole realm of football. It’s a very nice program and a nice honor.”
The Neligh Seniors made quick work of Plainview on Friday night, ending the game early thanks to the mercy rule.
Neligh sprinted out to a 6-0 lead after two innings with its first four batters picking up singles — Beau Murray, Jayden Arehart, Conor Ramold and Hunter Reestman all started 1-for-1 with the first three crossing home plate in the first inning.
The second inning was more of the same as Arehart batted in Andrew Jacobsen. Both he and Murray scored again in the second as Neligh went up 6-0. But errors plagued the Seniors in the fourth as Plainview scored five times as Neligh started to look like it was the just the third game of the season.
“We have a couple players not here again tonight, so when you bring guys in from the outfield, that changes things,” coach Dan Murray said. “We will look like a complete different team next week. We still have to bring the fire, and tonight we didn’t have it. It was better than the last night, but it’s still not where we need it to be.”
Neligh responded and looked unstoppable again in the bottom of the fourth inning, pounding out seven runs to pull ahead by eight — the magic number needed to end the game in the fifth.
“The thing all three of us coaches are pounding into them is attitude is everything,” Murray said. “If you show up flat footed, you’re going to play flat footed. We need to step it up a little bit, and we will. We’ll be there.”
Ramold was for 3-for-3 with three singles and was hit by a pitch, advance to base every time he picked up the bat. The senior-to-be at Pope John scored twice. Murray earned the win from the mound with nine strikeouts.
Neligh will be back in action Tuesday as the Seniors host Creighton before traveling to Plainview on Thursday, Crofton on Friday and Creighton on Sunday.
Plainview 000 50 - 5
Neligh 330 7x -13
WP: Beau Murray
Thursday night’s Peewee baseball game between Orchard and Neligh was full of excitement as both teams battled all game.
Orchard claimed an early 5-0 lead after the opening inning.
Neligh answered by scoring seven of the next nine runs to send the game into extras.
In the top of the seventh, Neligh scored to take an 8-7 lead.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Wyatt Shabram scored on a Preston Hoke RBI to knot the game at eight.
Wyatt Anderson ripped a single into right to score Hoke and win the game.
The Orchard and Elgin six-and-under softball teams were also in action and the Orchard Pony squad took on Wynot.
Check out the photo gallery below from Thursday’s action.
A three-run fourth inning proved to be the difference as the Neligh Seniors dropped their home opener on Wednesday at Harold Cole Memorial Field.
After pouncing to a 1-0 advantage in the first as Beau Murray stole third and scored on an error, Neligh was silenced for the rest of the game as the Seniors fell 5-1 to Crofton.
“We didn’t show up to win at all,” said coach Dan Murray. “We were flat going out there and in between innings. They were all tired and didn’t show up to play tonight, and they know it. But they’ll be back ready to play Friday night.”
Cole Belitz pitched a complete game for Neligh, striking out six batters. Murray said fielding errors and poor bats were just too much to over come against Crofton, which already had nearly a dozen games under its belt.
“Take those errors off, and we had a 1-0 lead heading into the third. So Cole pitched a good game,” Murray said. “We should have been there.”
Jared Hornback started Crofton off in the fourth with a walk and tied the game at 1-all. Justin Potts singled to left field and crossed the plate on an RBI double from Andy Knapp. Knapp stole second and scored on an error for the 3-1 lead over Neligh.
Neligh started to respond as Jayden Arehart singled to left field, but he was stranded at second to end the fourth inning. Neligh came up empty for the rest of the game — even after Crofton tacked on a pair of runs in the top of the seventh by Austin Tramp and pitcher Landon Wieseler.
“It’s a different story if we didn’t have the inning where we gave three runs,” Murray said. “Your attitude going into the last inning is a lot different if not for that inning.”
Neligh will be back in action at home on Friday at 7 p.m. against Plainview. The Seniors won’t field its full team until next week, but Murray said he’s expecting good things from his squad, especially as they gain experience during a stretch where they have 16 games in 20 days.
“We’ll be fine on Friday,” he said. “We have all of our pitchers, and we’ll be ready to play. They knew that after the game. It stinks losing a game we should have won, but they’ll come back and make up for it on Friday.”
Crofton 000 300 2 - 5
Neligh 100 000 0 - 1
WP: Landon Wieseler. LP: Cole Belitz.
Beau Murray was on fire Tuesday night as the Neligh Seniors opened the season with a win.
Murray was 3-for-5 with 3 RBIs to lead the hitters while Jayden Arehart struck out six of the first seven Hartington batters he faced as Neligh picked up the 8-5 win on the road.
Neligh struck first with Connor Dempsey singling in the third inning and finding his way across the plate two batters later as leadoff batter Beau Murray sent an RBI single to center field. Arehart then connected on a single to score Murray for the 2-0 lead.
Hartington answered in the third inning and stole the lead. After struggling against Arehart for 2 1/3 innings, they answered with three runs in the third and another two runs in the fourth for a 5-2 advantage over Neligh.
But Neligh batted around the fifth, beginning at the top of the order with a single to left field by Murray. Cole Belitz then walked before Arehart loaded the bases. Garret Belitz powered a double into right field for 2 RBIs, scoring Murray and his older brother. Hunter Reestman, who was 3-for-4 on the night, capped the inning with a two-RBI single to score Arehart and Garret Belitz to give Neligh the 6-5 advantage.
Neligh added two more runs in the top of the seventh inning for good measure to seal the win. Dempsey and Brock Kester both walked onto base but crossed the plate thanks to a 2-RBI double by Murray.
Neligh will host Crofton at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Neligh 002 040 2 - 8
Hartington 003 200 0 - 5
Before the season had even begun, the Neligh Legion baseball squad has made some drastic improvements from last year.
For the past few weeks, upgrades have been made to the field. Last week, renovations were completed to the new home and visitor dugouts.
“The decision to make the upgrades (to the dugouts) came due to the fact the old ones were falling apart and for the last two years I have been “scabbing” together just to make them work,” stated Neligh coach Dan Murray. “The new dugouts were rebuilt from the ground up, new cement, new steel inside and out this time, lighting inside, fans inside for the players, new benches for the players storage and dressing room for home dugout.”
The renovations to the dugouts were just the start of what Murray hopes to be an overhaul of the facility.
“Future upgrades I would like to see is something with our seating, as well as crow’s nest,” noted Murray. “Both the fair board and city have been helpful in making this all work. Our donors will be proudly displayed on the back of both dugouts.”
What made the dugout improvements even more special to Murray was that his son, Beau Murray, also assisted in the building of the new dugouts.
Murray hopes the renovations and upgrades to the baseball field will increase Neligh’s chances of hosting district or state baseball tournaments.
“Benefits to the upgrades, first and foremost, it’s a safe place for the kids and a building that is going to last a long time,” spoke Murray. “Hopefully as we keep upgrading our facilities, it will allow us to host larger Legion tournaments such as state.”
The Neligh baseball coach knows his team, and future teams, will appreciate and be thankful for the generous sponsors that helped renovate the baseball facility.
“Knowing that kids for a long time to come will benefit out of it makes it special to me and I hope we don’t stop here,” concluded Murray. “I hope we continue to make more and more improvements down there over the years.”
Several recent Antelope County graduates took to the football field Saturday for the Northeast Nebraska Football Classic at Norfolk’s Memorial Field.
All six athletes suited up for the White squad. Elkhorn Valley’s Josh McFarland, Elgin Public/Pope John’s Hunter Reestman, Neligh-Oakdale’s Austin Rice and Clearwater/Orchard’s Tommie Peed, Clay Thiele and Jacob Long.
The White team jumped out to a quick 20-0 lead after the first half, but the Red team came storming back with 13 unanswered points.
After O’Neill St. Mary’s Grady Semin recovered an onside kick with two seconds remaining in the game, the Red squad executed a perfect hook-and-ladder to try to either tie the game or take the lead. The White team’s last line of defense, Oakland-Craig’s Robby Mayberry, brought down Randolph’s Noah Scott to prevent him from find pay dirt and ending the game.
Rice led the locals on offense with three catches for 29 yards. McFarland ran the ball three times for six yards and caught a pass, while Peed and Thiele played all of his snaps on the offensive line.
Long was the defensive catalyst, recording five tackles and Reestman added two tackles.
Long, McFarland and Rice will join OC’s Chris Kester at the Sertoma 8-man all-star game June 15 at 6 p.m. at Hastings College.
A 2018 Elkhorn Valley graduate made his mark during the spring semester at Iowa Western Community College.
Dillon Stewart earned 2nd team honors for the 2019 Spring Academic All-Region at IWCC. He was just one of five on the team to do so. Stewart completed his first season wrestling for the Reivers this spring.