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Hartington Penguins drop a pair of games as they prepare for State

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HARTINGTON — The Hartington Penguin 18U softball team got together with Crofton July 2 to play a doubleheader as the teams prepared for the upcoming state tournaments.

Crofton swept the doubleheader, but not without a gallant fight from the Penguins in the second game.

The second game was knotted up 10-10 heading into the seventh inning but Crofton scored 11 runs in its half of the frame.

Hartington answered, but fell just short, dropping a 21-18 contest.

Time had expired, so the seventh inning was technically an extra inning, implementing the sudden victory ruled where the final batter of the previous inning was placed on second base to begin the next at bat.

Alexys Hahne was the runner placed on second for Hartington, and after a fly out, Hahne scored on a Hadley Vaness singled just over the shortstop to make it 21-11.

Hazel Hochstein stepped to the plate and singled past the shortstop to put runners on first and second.

Lia Meisenheimer made it three straight with a single on a bunt back towards the pitcher, which loaded the bases.

Myrisa Lammers singled in the hole on the left side scoring Vaness and leaving the bases full.

Mani Lange made it five consecutive singles with a single on the left side which scored Hochstein.

After another fly out to the pitcher, which made two outs, Jade Ford rapped a single past third base scoring Meisenheimer making the score 21-14.

Hahne made it to the plate and promptly doubled, scoring three runs and making the score 21-17.

Emilie Claussen singled up the middle which chased Hahne to third where she eventually scored, stealing home during what would become the final at bat in the game.

Vaness hit a fly ball to left field which was caught and the game was over with the Penguins falling just short.

Crofton scored two runs in the second inning to open the scoring in the game, but Hartington answered with three in the bottom of the inning to take its first lead of the game.

Claussen and Vaness singled with one out in the second, before Hochstein got up and tripled into right field to score two runs.

Hochstein stole home and back-to-back strikeouts ended the inning.

Crofton made it 5-4 in the fourth then went up 6-5 with two runs in the fifth.

The Penguins came up in their half of the fifth and plated four runs to retake the lead.

Lange singled and scored, Wakeley singled and scored, Jade Ford singled and scored and Hahne smacked a double scoring two runs.

Crofton answered with four runs in the sixth, but Hartington stayed alive in the bottom of the frame when Lange singled, stole second and third and scored on a single past the shortstop by Ford setting up the fateful seventh inning.

In the first game, Crofton scored three runs in the bottom of the first and never really looked back on the way to the 7-1 final score.

The Penguins did manage a run in the top of the second when Lange singled up the middle, advanced to second on a ground out then stole third and home.

A July 9 game is on the schedule to play Elk Point, but Hartington’s players are focused on the upcoming Class D State Tournament in Hastings July 12-14.

The Penguins qualified for Class C state at last month’s district tournament where they placed fourth, but due to schedules, some of the players would have been unable to attend last week’s Class C tourney so the team opted to go Class D.

“It was the first time in like 10 years we qualified for Class C,” Penguin Olivia Grutsch said. “We’re really excited to get down there and play.”

“We want to do better than the team did last year,” Alexys Hahne said. “I think they got sixth, we want to get in the top three.”

Her teammate took it a step further. “We want to get to the finals,” Grutsch said.

Hartington is set to take on Bruning-Davenport-Shickley in the opening round of the state tournament at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, July 12.

The winner of that game will take on the winner of a game played between the Palmyra Panthers and Wakefield Saturday, July 13 at 11 a.m.

The opening round losing teams will square off Friday night at 8 p.m.

Crofton defeats Hartington 18U Penguins 21-18. C 0 2 0 2 2 4 11 - 21 16 1 H0320418-18220 LP: Blair Wakeley. 2B: Crofton; Alexys Hahne, Hadley Vaness, Mani Lange (H). 3B: Crofton (2); Hazel Hochstein (H). Crofton defeats Hartington 18U Penguins 7-1. H010000X-140 C31030XX-7100 WP: UK LP: Alexys Hahne. 2B: Crofton (2). 3B: Crofton. HR: Crofton.