Wayne High Baseball Opens Season With Five Games In Five Days Next Week

WAYNE – As the Wayne High spring baseball season approaches next week, the Blue Devils will have a busy schedule in late March.

Spring practices first began on Monday, February 28 as the team has been working on the fundamentals.

Wayne High head baseball coach Adam Hoffman will be entering his 11th season leading the team.

Coach Hoffman said the team has been able to work on more live hitting and pitching than in the past with the more favorable weather.

“We put them through the ringer right away as far as trying to get them prepared as best as we can for first game of live at bats for offensively,” said coach Hoffman. “I think it also helps with our pitchers being able to throw live and get a batter in there swinging and kind of seeing that.”

A total of 22 players will make up the team which has been the average for the past 4-5 years. Five seniors will be among the Blue Devil baseball team including newcomer Brandon Bartos.

Coach Hoffman will be joined by Robbie Gamble as an assistant and Kody Larson as a volunteer assistant.

The Blue Devils finished 13-8 which included a B-1 District runner-up finish falling to the host Hastings, 3-0 in the finals last year.

WHS graduated quite a few starters and will bring back a younger team mixing in with some key returners.

“I think the biggest thing for us is just working on our mental game as far as how we handle situations,” coach Hoffman added. “Then just kind of growing up fairly fast as far as some guys are going to be out there for the first time in the varsity action and just learning.”

Wayne High will return two of their top three hitters of Brooks Kneifl and James Dorcey who both recorded 23 hits last season. Brooks Kneifl recorded a .365 average with nine singles, eight doubles, two triples, four homeruns, 21 RBI and 16 runs scored as Dorcey finished with a .354 average to go along with 23 singles, 13 RBI and 14 runs scored.

Kneifl, a Kansas State commit, is also the top returning pitcher who worked 49 innings on the mound. Brooks appeared in nine games with eight starts going 7-2. He finished with a 1.143 ERA allowing 17 runs (eight earned) off 24 hits while striking out 71 batters and walking 16.

Coach Hoffman mentioned there’ll be some younger guys who will have an opportunity to play.

“I told the guys already I think we’re going to see quite a few different line-ups as far as where we can put guys in positions,” coach Hoffman mentioned. “Lot of guys are going to get a chance to pitch, so there’s a lot of innings out there to be had. Just got to be ready for when their name is called and their number is called.”

The Wayne High baseball team will open their 2022 season at Arlington on Monday, March 21 with varsity action starting at 4:30 p.m. followed by junior varsity competition at 6 p.m. The Blue Devil home opener will be the following night on Tuesday, March 22 hosting Fort Calhoun from Hank Overin Field in Wayne.

“We’re excited,” said coach Hoffman. “Anytime you can get a home game, it’s definitely exciting just to get everybody there and hopefully fill the stands. Hopefully it’s going to be good weather where people want to come out and watch hopefully a good product that we put on the field and watch guys that play hard and compete.”

Other games closing out week one will be on Thursday, March 24 at Thurston-Cuming County in Pender (Varsity at 4:30/JV at 6 p.m.) and a varsity doubleheader at Wahoo/Bishop Neumann/Lincoln Lutheran in Wahoo on Friday, March 25 starting at 4:30 p.m.

Complete schedule.