CROFTON - What started as a pitcher’s duel ended as a slugfest in the semifinals of the American Legion Seniors Class C District 1 Tournament.
Neligh would defeat Hartington 10-6, earning most of their runs in a momentous fourth inning that brought eight runs across for Neligh.
Sam Feilmeier for Hartington took on Tyson Belitz of Neligh, and the pitcher’s dominated the first three innings, allowing just three total hits. Neligh changed that in the top of the third when Feilmeier fell into a bases loaded jam. The bleeding could not be stopped, and Owen Heimes would come in relief to finish the inning. All eight runs that came across were credited to Feilmeier.
Hartington would respond with one run in the bottom of the fourth, but Neligh would extend their lead with a run in the fifth and on more in the sixth.
In the bottom of the sixth, Hartington got a rally going and would bring the game within reach, scoring five runs.
Seth Wiebelhaus started the inning with a fly out to center. Jacob Keiser would single, and Dain Whitmire would drive him in with a double.
“Just grinding with grinder A-B’s as I call them,” said head coach Don Whitmire. “Just grinding away, I think Dain had a nice hit there with two strikes, the guy gave him a little change up and Dain got it. We battled and battled and Dain knocked him out of the game there. Nolan had a huge hit coming off the bench though.”
Dain would then take third on a single by Feilmeier, who would move to second when Heimes was hit by a pitch. Coach Don Whitmire then brought Nolan Klug to the plate to pinch hit for Ted Bengton. The decision paid off with Klug hitting a single to center that Neligh’s Beau Murray made a fielding error on. That brought all three runs across and put Klug on third. Austin Arens would drive in Klug with a ground ball to third base.
Hartington could not complete the comeback though, leaving the bases loaded to end the sixth inning. Keiser hit a deep fly ball to centerfield, and seemed visibly frustrated that he did not capitalize with runners in scoring position. In the seventh inning, Hartington would again get the bases loaded but leave them all stranded on the way to the 10-6 loss.
In 2017, Hartington lost in the District championship game. In 2018, Hartington lost in the District Semifinals. These were two entirely different teams though. A fair amount of starters aged out of Legion Baseball from the 2017 Seniors team. That left 2018 with a fresh look that brought a lot of new faces.
“The whole team is young. Those boys were huge. I can’t speak enough about all the kids. They came together as a team and when we needed them they were there. I am proud of the way they competed.”
Neligh 0 0 0 8 1 1 0 10 11 2
Hartington 0 0 0 1 0 5 0 6 8 4
Hartington - Brady Steffen, 1-5, 2 K; Turner Korth, 1-3, 2 K; Seth Wiebelhaus, 1-4; Jacob Keiser, 1-4, 2 R; Dain Whitmire, 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1K; Sam Feilmeier, 2-4, 1 R; Owen Heimes, 0-2, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K; Ted Bengston, 0-1, 1 BB, 1 K; Nolan Klug, 1-1, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 3B, 1 BB; Austin Arens, 0-4, 1 RBI, 3 K. Neligh - Beau Murray, 2-3, 1 RBI, 2 BB; cole Belitz, 0-3, 2 R, 2 BB; Tyson Belitz, 1-3, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K; Jayden Arehart, 3-5, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 K; Conor Ramold, 2-2, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB; Kaleb Pofahl, 0-2, 2 K; Austin Miller, 1-3, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K; Austin Rice, 1-1, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB; Hunter Reestman, 1-4,; Andrew Herley, 0-1, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB.
Hartington - Sam Feilmeier, 3.2 IP, 8 R, 8 ER, 5 H, 2 K, 7 BB; Owen Heimes, 0.2 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 H, 2 BB; Sam Wiebelhaus, 2.2 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 3 K, 3 BB. Neligh - Tyson Belitz, 6.0 IP, 6 R, 5 ER, 8 H, 8 K, 1 BB; Andrew Jacobsen, 0.1 IP, 3 BB; Conor Ramold, 0.2 IP, 2 K.