HARTINGTON — Hartington sandwiched a pair of nail-biters in between a blow-out win to advance to Tuesday’s C1 Area Tournament semifinal game.
Pender jumped out to a 2-0 lead to get Monday’s game started. Hartington responded with a run in the third when Lane Heimes scored after reaching base on a ground ball error. He then raced to third on a passed ball and scored on a Brett Kleinschmit sacrifice.
Hartington got one more in the fourth when Tyan Baller singled then moved to second on a Grant Arens single. A double steal then moved both runners into scoring position. Keaton Steffen loaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch and Jay Steffen drew a walk to send Baller home, knotting the score at 2-2 heading into the fifth frame.
The Hartington bats really came alive in the fifth inning as the tourney hosts were able to plate four runners to take a 6-2 lead.
Singles by Kleinschmit, Carson Arens, and Jaxson Bernecker got Hartington off to a good start in the fifth frame. Kleinschmit was able to score on a throwing error, while Arens came in on Bernecker’s line drive. A G. Arens triple to center field then drove in Bernecker. Keaton Steffen’s RBI single drove in G. Arens to complete the scoring, giving the hosts that 6-2 lead.
Pender didn’t stay down for long, though, as they took advantage of Hartington pitching and fielding errors to put up six of their own in their half of the frame for an 8-6 lead.
Hartington again tied the game in the sixth inning when Carson Arens singled, then worked his way around the bases. But it didn’t stay tied for long, as Pender again broke the tie in their half of the inning, plating a run to take a 9-8 lead heading into the final frame.
Pender quickly put down Hartington’s first two batters in the final frame. Jay Steffen then reached base when he was hit by a pitch. He moved to second on a Lane Heimes walk, but the game ended on a Brett Kleinschmit strike out.
Hartington took on Wisner-Pilger Tuesday after press time.
The winner of that game will take on Pender in Wednesday night’s 4 p.m. title game at Felber Park.
Both teams in the title game will advance to next week’s State Tournament. Pender is the State Tourney host, so they are an automatic qualifier, guaranteeing their opponent in the Championship game a trip to State, as well.
Hartington 0 0 1 1 4 2 0 — 8 10 3
Pender 1 1 0 0 6 1 x — 9 5 3
Hartington got off to a slow start in its opener against Crofton.
A two-out Jay Steffen double drove in a pair of runs as Hartington tied it 3-3 in the third inning, then added two more in the fourth.
Crofton plated four more runs over the next four innings to build a 7-6 lead, but Hartington came back to win in the final frame, thanks to a Grant Arens’ walk-off single, which drove in Tyan Baller for the go-ahead run.
Crofton 1 0 2 0 1 0 3 — 7 5 0
Hartington 0 0 3 2 0 1 2 — 8 12 7
Hartington 0 0 9 0 1 x x 10 10 0
Wakefield 0 1 0 1 0 x x 2 3 0
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