HARTINGTON — The Hartington American Legion Juniors will enter this week’s Class C Area 1 Tournament as the top seed.
The six-team tournament, which will be held at Felber Park in Hartington, will begin at 1 p.m. Friday when Wisner-Pilger takes on Wakefield.
Pender is the second seed for the tourney. They will take on fifthseeded Ponca in the 4 p.m. game.
Hartington will play the 7 p.m. nightcap when they take on sixthseeded Crofton.
The Hartington Juniors (9-6 overall) went 5-1 against the rest of the bracket field, the team’s only loss coming to Pender.
In the event of a first-round win, Hartington will face the loser of No. 3 Wisner Pilger/Howells Dodge and No. 4 Wakefield.
Getting the tournament back in Hartington takes a big effort from several people, said American Legion Baseball Coordinator Ryan Heimes.
“It takes a lot of planning, cooperation, and communication between coaches’ parents and the town to make this all work for the kids; and I appreciate everything that everyone is doing to make it possible,” Hartington American Legion senior coach and program leader Ryan Heimes said about having the tournament in Hartington. “I do like our odds for the juniors to make it to state. We got the No. 1 seed and this is the goal they have been working for all season.”
Heimes said that to have the tournament in Hartington is quite the big deal.
“It gives us a chance to show off our town and what is most important to us,” Heimes said. “Our city helps us out anyway it can from getting garbage pickup on a Saturday to making sure the bathrooms are clean and ready to go. The American legion Post 4 makes sure that we have a color guard for any game. This year they donated an air conditioner for the concession stand.
“Even our local businesses sponsor $1 foul balls to do their part. The parents probably have the hardest job and they make sure we have responsible people around to do gate and concession stands for every game.”
Crofton may come in as the lowest seed in the field, but Heimes will not discount the threat their neighbors present.
“They won’t go down without a fight,” Heimes said. “Now we need to go show that we deserve it and go and make every play, take every base we can, and stay aggressive at the plate.”
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