Girls Junior Varsity Softball, Girls Varsity Softball · Alexander helps Waverly shut down Seward in opener |TIM GRAY Lincoln Journal Star

WAVERLY — Brook Ruhter and her Waverly softball team got the start they were looking for to the 2016 high school season.

Unable to play on its home field due to construction around Viking Stadium, Waverly got a solid start from Jade Alexander, helping the Vikings to a 5-0 victory against Seward on Thursday at Lawson Park.

“Anytime we can beat Seward is a good day,” Ruhter said. “To come out and get a win against Seward, who is a quality team and is in our district with one of the best pitchers in the state in Class B in (Kate) Mullally.

“It’s a great feeling and we are ecstatic with it being a wonderful start to our season.”

Alexander allowed just three hits over six innings.

“That was huge. It was huge for us, and it was huge for Jade,” Ruhter said. “I think last year she came out and struggled a little bit. She really just set the tone, and it was awesome to see her pitch the way she did and get stronger as the innings went on.”

Offensively, Sydni Schernikau did the damage at the plate, scoring in the fifth inning after hitting a triple, and drove in the Vikings’ final two runs with a single in the bottom of the sixth.

“Syd just has nerves of steel with one of those deadpan faces,” Ruhter said. “Nobody better (for Waverly) to be up in that situation, because she takes everything in stride knowing what her role and job is.

“She goes out there and gets it done, and she has the wheels where she can turn a double into a triple easy.”

Alexander also helped herself offensively, with an RBI bloop single down the right-field line that put the Vikings on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Corie Gleason, courtesy running for Alexander, later scored in the inning, and the Vikings pushed across another run in the fifth to take a 3-0 lead.

Defensively, the Vikings played crisp in the field to help Alexander, before turning the ball over to sophomore Micki Larsen.

“They trust each other, that is the biggest thing,” Ruhter said. “That is the biggest difference from last year to this year is they know somebody is going to be there and have the confidence that somebody is going to make secondary plays.

“Trust is going to be huge because they know they can go out there and put it out on the line because somebody is going to have their back.”