Images and highlights from the 2020 softball regular season

Fairbury Jeff softball took on the Wilber-Clatonia Wolverines at home on Thursday, Oct. 1 for the program’s last regular season game, pulling away with a 9-0 win. The competition comes before subdistrict play at home on Monday, Oct. 5 in a pool with Centennial, Highway 91 and Pierce. The victor of these four teams will go on to play in a best-of-three district final this Friday.

Following their 2019 NSAA Class C State Championship season, the Jeffs are 20-7 this year with four starting players hitting above .400 and 32 overall home runs highlighting their offensive stats. Before the team begins postseason play and starts honing in on its goal of another State run, here’s a recap of the season thus far.

8/20: Jeffs outhit Freeman Falcons in 10-5 win

In a showcase of both teams’ offensive strengths, the season opener for the Jeffs and Falcons ended with 24 hits – 14 of which belonged to the Jeffs. Top left: Mallonee Biehl ’21 touches the lucky horseshoe on the entrance to the dugout before being announced in the starting lineup (Photo by Lindsey Korthals). Top right: Seniors Leah Moyer and Mikwena Lierman support their friends from the stands (Photo by Taylor Gustafson). Middle left: After hitting the Jeffs’ first home run of the season, Jordan Tracy ’21 flashes a smile at her celebrating dugout (Photo by Taylor Gustafson). Middle right: After a single from the Falcons to begin the inning, second baseman Brynn Novotny ’21 looks back the runner at first (Photo by Taylor Gustafson). Bottom left: Moments after launching a throw into the infield, center fielder Josi Mans ’21 watches the ball travel (Photo by Taylor Gustafson). Bottom right: Senior Ellie Ohlde books it to third base after hitting one of the two triples she had that night (Photo by Taylor Gustafson).

8/22: Jeffs go 2-1 in first tournament: a quad with Grand Island Central Catholic, O’Neill and York

After dropping the first game of the day to GICC 4-5, the Jeffs bounced back with 11-1 and 18-0 victories against O’Neill and York respectively, piling up 21 hits over the final two games. Top left: Aspen DeFrain ’22 peers into the dugout for the pitch call. Top right: After charging a ground ball, third baseman Brittyn Wentz ’21 rears back to get the out at first. Middle left: With the scoreboard in the Jeffs’ favor during the O’Neill game, Josi Mans ’21 reaches second on a stand-up double. Bottom right: Sophomore Casidy Sipek watches her hit play out in fair territory. Bottom left: First baseman Marlee Biehl ’21 sees the ball into her glove to complete the putout. Photos by Lindsey Korthals

8/25-9/1: Jeffs go 5-2 (both losses coming from Class B teams) while hitting 12 home runs and averaging 13.2 runs along with 11 hits per game in their winning efforts

Jami Mans ’22 pushes off the mound for the pitch against a Crete hitter. Going into the final regular season game, Mans was second on her team in batting average (.469), hits (38) and home runs (5) for the Jeffs. She had lead the team in doubles (12) and had pitched 138.2 innings out of the 142 played, maintaining a 3.99 ERA and striking out 107 batters on the season. Photo by Lindsey Korthals

9/5-9/18: Jeffs win 6 of their 9 games, including a first place finish in a newly-added quad with Class B teams (Ashland-Greenwood, Omaha Gross Catholic and Ralston)

Top left: Maggie Layton ’21 gets ready to load up against the Scottsbluff pitcher during Fairbury’s home invite (Photo by Ericka Kroeker). Top right: Right fielder Jordan Tracy ’21 gazes at the infield as she jogs to her position after the outfielders’ huddle between innings (Photo by Lindsey Korthals). Middle left: Senior Brittyn Wentz charges a bunt from a Malcolm batter (Photo by Lindsey Korthals). Middle: Pitcher Jami Mans drags her back toe at the end of her windup (Photo by Lindsey Korthals). Middle right: The Jeffs cheer from the dugout while on the offensive side of the ball (Photo by Ericka Kroeker). Bottom left: Junior Aspen DeFrain watches the ball soar high in the air on her follow-through (Photo by Lindsey Korthals). Bottom middle: Marlee Biehl congratulates fellow senior Jordan Tracy on a home run against Seward (Photo by Lindsey Korthals). Bottom right: Casidy Sipek ’23 launches a ball that would go on to clear the Malcolm fence (Photo by Lindsey Korthals).

9/21-9/26: Amidst a busy Homecoming week, the Jeffs string five consecutive victories together

After taking down Auburn, Falls City and Southern/Diller-Odell throughout the week, the Jeffs turned around and earned a Southern Nebraska Conference championship on Saturday, Sep. 26 after celebrating Homecoming festivities the day before. Top left: Brittyn Wentz ’21 surveys Auburn’s field before taking her place in the batter’s box (Photo by Lindsey Korthals). Top right: Catcher Aspen DeFrain looks over the infield before the second half of the first inning (Photo by Lindsey Korthals). Middle left: The Jeffs represent their team by riding atop a truck and trailer during the Homecoming parade (Photo by Makenzie Mills). Middle right: The 2020 Homecoming court, including softball players Anna York as junior representative, seniors Mallonee Biehl, Maggie Layton and Brynn Novotny as queen candidates and Ellie Ohlde as crowned royalty, pose in front of the courthouse (Photo by Taylor Gustafson). Bottom left: A float constructed by the players’ parents and abiding by the “Out of This World” theme rolls through the square. The softball parents took home the “Best Float” award this year (Photo by Makenzie Mills).

9/29-10/1: After suffering a loss against Norris, the Jeffs come back with a 9-0 win against Wilber-Clatonia later in the week in the final regular season game

Top left: In front of a winning scoreboard, Jami Mans ’22 prepares for her wind up against a Wilber-Clatonia batter (Photo by Taylor Gustafson). Top right: Infielders Brittyn Wentz ’21, Ellie Ohlde ’21 and Brynn Novotny ’21 share a laugh at second base before the national anthem (Photo by Lindsey Korthals). Middle left: Head coach Taylor Biehl gives a pitch call to the field (Photo by Taylor Gustafson). Middle right: Senior Josi Mans waits for the pitch (Photo by Lindsey Korthals). Bottom left: The Jeffs huddle prior to the Norris game (Photo by Lindsey Korthals). Bottom right: Marlee Biehl ’21 sits back between pitches (Photo by Taylor Gustafson).

Two wins on Friday would mean another NSAA Class C State run for the Jeffs, who defeated Guardian Angels Central Catholic in the if-necessary game in 2019 to award Fairbury its first championship in the softball program’s history.