Nebraska State Softball Championship finals leaving Hastings

Hastings' Smith Softball Complex is the home to the State Softball Tournament
Hastings' Smith Softball Complex is the home to the State Softball Tournament(KSNB)
Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 12:12 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 15, 2023 at 1:50 PM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - The NSAA State Softball Championship final game will no longer be played in Hastings.

On Wednesday, the NSAA Board of Directors voted 5-3 to change the format of the tournament to two four-team double elimination brackets with a winner-take-all championship final.

A change in the format of the championship bracket in both baseball and softball allows for television coverage. Nebraska Public Media is set to televise the NSAA Baseball and Softball Championship final games.

“The NSAA is excited to showcase high school softball and baseball and all of the great programs and teams statewide. Placing both on live television will create memories that will last a lifetime for our student-athletes,” said Dan Masters, NSAA Assistant Director in charge of softball and baseball.

But the final will not happen at the Smith Softball Complex. Instead, it will take place at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

“I think because of the involvement of the TV question, because of the now change of the state softball format that essentially our schools approved of when they voted in January and our board took action early, because of those things lining up, that’s why you saw the move today and the approval of moving just the championship games to UNO,” said Dan Masters, NSAA Assistant Director in charge of softball.

The NSAA Board of Directors voted 7-1 to move the finals to Monday to be played at the Connie Claussen Field.

“We handled it the right way, where we hadn’t even entertained Omaha or any other option,” Masters said. “We love having the state championship run through and with Hastings. They did a site visit in the last 6-9 months. There was going to be needing a few cosmetic changes, some things needing to be done to be more TV prepped and prepared.”

Hastings Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Hassenstab said they have two years left with the NSAA for the bid.

“We knew about this possibility,” he said. “We understand the NSAA’s position on why they are making the change.”

He said the NSAA wanted to move the championship games to a more stadium-like venue. They wanted the softball teams to have an equal experience of what the boys baseball teams have.

Hassenstab did add that softball will still be played at the Smith Softball Complex on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

He said they are still getting the same amount of days so doesn’t believe it will have a major economic impact on the community.

The Smith Softball Complex was built in 1995, and Hassenstab said some of the upgrades they have done have come specifically from this tournament.

Those include lengthening the dugouts, improving backstops and coming in the spring, they will add a warmup pitching mound.

“We focused on improvements to make this complex a very viable facility for the NSAA,” said Hassenstab.