HASTINGS, Neb. – 2024 is a year of firsts for the Adams Central Baseball program.

It’s the first season under first year head coach Tim Stroman. It’s also the first time that seniors this year have played all four years at Adams Central since the program is just in it’s fourth full year.

Most importantly, it’s the first year any Patriot ballplayer is headed to the state tournament in Omaha.

"We earned it," said Senior Jayden Teichmeier. "We're there for a reason, and we're extremely happy to be there, and we're going to make the best out of our opportunity."

But, the Patriots didn’t get there without a sweat. Last Friday, Adams Central rematched with Wayne, who beat the Patriots last year to end their season.

Wayne won again this year, but Adams Central clinched the last of two wildcard spots to give their seniors the goal they’ve been aiming for since they were the start of this program just four years ago.

"These juniors and seniors specifically this year have been around since the beginning, and we're really coming around together and we had a great year," said Senior Nick Conant. "Luckily, we made it to state which was our first goal to do this season."

A big part of the team this year have been three freshmen: Hunter Nepple, Kowen Rader, and Owen Brown.

Those names may sound familiar to the Hastings area, as those three kids were representing Hastings in the Little League World Series in 2021. They’ve now made arguably the most prestigious baseball tournament now at two different levels.

"All those games on TV, seeing stuff on social media, it prepared me a little bit to kind of go on these big stages as well." said Freshman Hunter Nepple.

"A lot of great memories there," said Freshman Owen Brown. "Nerves-wise, it kind of prepared us all for this stage, and the talent we see will carry over to this too."

The Patriots play Saturday in Elkhorn against Platteview, a team they already beat this season in comeback fashion.

The team says they’re preparing for their biggest test of the season like they would any other game and are ready to put it all out on the diamond.

"I'm excited, I'm hungry, these guys are as well, so we're just glad to have the opportunity and see what we can do with it here." said Conant.

"We have a fire in our belly after that loss, and we're gonna get a few wins." said Brown. 

Saturday's game is at Frerichs Field in Elkhorn at 12:30 p.m. You can listen to the game on KHAS Radio.