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Juniors take runner-up honors in League Tny.

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WISNER — The Hartington Post 4 Junior American Legion baseball team made it to the finals of the Ralph Bishop League Tournament with wins over Crofton and Wayne to take the North Division of the league then fell 7-3 in the championship game to Pender Post 55 here on July 6.

Ealier in the week, Post 4 defeated Crofton 7-0 on July 3 in a game played at Felber Park and Wayne Post 43 5-1 in a contest at Hank Overin Field in Wayne July 5.

“We’re pretty confident in where we are at,” Post 4 coach Don Whitmire said. “These guys have played some of the best competition around in South Dakota and our area on Seniors and Juniors, we have built some depth on the mound and we keep the pressure on offensively.”

Against Post 55, it was the second time the two teams butted heads with Hartington winning the first game 5-2 on June 10 in Pender in a Ralph Bishop regular season match up.

This time around, Pender jumped on Post 4 with five runs in the opening inning, which is exactly what Hartington’s Breiton Whitmire said about the North Division finals.

“When you jump on a team early, it just makes everything better,” Whitmire said after defeating Wayne. “You play loose, with confidence, you just have more energy. Look at Tennessee in College World Series, they played with tons of energy and excitement, they were just fun to watch and when you play that way it’s just way more fun.”

Post 55 turned the tables in the finals and Post 4 had trouble figuring out Pender starting pitcher Ryan Linkous, who tossed six innings, scattering seven hits and allowing just two runs.

Hunter Bensen figured him out, going 3-for-4 at the plate and scoring a run.

Easton Hochstein, who took the loss on the hill for Hartington also scored a run in the contest and Post 4 dropped the game despite out hitting Pender 9-6.

In the North Division finals in Wayne, Hartington posted a 3-0 advantage by the end of the third inning and rode the steady arm of pitcher, Koby Detlefsen, who threw a complete game one-run, five-hit gem where he struck out seven Wayne batters and walked only four.

“It’s my job to just throw strikes,” Detelfsen said. “I know our guys will make the plays. We knew we had to win this game because we got beat in the Seniors game a couple of days before and if we didn’t win this one, we wouldn’t have a game again until the Area tournament.”

The lead grew to 4-0 after the top of the fourth, but Wayne Rolling Hills Supply plated its lone run of the game in the bottom of the frame to make it 4-1.

Post 4 added an insurance run in the sixth when Whitmire rifled a single into left field then stole second base.

He was eventually thrown out trying to score on a fielder’s choice by Bodie Hochstein but after Detlefsen was hit by the Wayne pitcher, Bensen singled past the shortstop to score Hochstein.

In the first inning, Whitmire got aboard on a Rolling Hills Supply error then advanced to third on another error by the Wayne pitcher.

Bensen knocked him home with a double into right field to make it 1-0.

Post 4 was back at it in the third when Hochstein singled into left field and stole second and third bases.

After a fly out to center field, Bensen drew a walk then Hochstein stole home to make it 2-0. Bensen also stole second and third then stole home to make it 3-0.

“We really did need to win this game, they beat us the first time around and we wanted to keep playing,” Whitmire, the coach said. “We feel really good with where we are at and we’re ready for the post season.”

Against Crofton, Hartington shutout its foe for the second time this season, winning 8-0 in the opening game of the 2024 campaign in Crofton back on May 22.

Post 4 got runs from Hochstein, Hudson Whitmire and Detlefsen to take a 3-0 lead,. then added a Maverick Heine run in the second to make it 4-0.

Meanwhile, Breiton Whitmire was allowing just two hits, one walk and struck out seven in four innings of work before giving way to Bodie Hochstein in the fifth. Hochstein allowed just one hit and struck out four.

Post 4 added three runs in the fourth to put the game out of reach.

The Hartington Post 4 Juniors will automatically qualify for the Class C Nebraska American Junior Legion Tournament as the hosts, but will compete in the Area C-1 Tournament in Creighton July 12-17.

Creighton, Adams, Albion, Crofton and Orchard-Tri County will compete in the C-1 Area Tournament along with Hartington.

Pender Post 55 def. Hartington Post 4 Junior 7-3. H0002001-392 P501010X-760 WP: Ryan Linkous LP: Easton Hochstein. 2B: Bodie Hochstein, Koby Detlefsen, Sam Wiebelhaus (H). Hartington Post 4 def. Wayne Post 43 5-1. H1021010-570 W0001000-152 WP: Koby Detlefsen LP: Jaxson Kneifl 2B: Hunter Bensen (H); A. Rodriguez, D. Reinhardt (W). Hartington Post 4 def. Crofton 7-0. C0000000-032 H310300X-750 WP: Breiton Whitmire LP: J. Munter. 2B: Breiton Whitmire (H).