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Senior Legion team gets off to great start with win over Valentine

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HARTINGTON — The Hartington American Legion baseball players laced up their cleats Sunday for their first game of the 2023 season against Valentine.

Lukas Wortmann started on the mound for the Hartington Seniors. He gave up two first-inning singles, before getting a pop-out. Another Valentine single left the bases loaded with two outs. Another single for Valentine brought home two runs. Wortmann then ended the frame by tossing a strikeout and forcing a ground-out.

Hartington was hitless in its half of the opening frame with two strikeouts and a ground-out to give Valentine the 2-0 lead heading into the second inning.

Dylan Taylor took the mound for Hartington in the second frame. He walked the first batter, but then got his accuracy under control, as he struck out the next three players he faced to close out the frame.

Weston Heine singled in Hartington’s half of the second and worked his way around the bases before a balk advanced him home to make it 2-1.

In the third inning, Valentine started strong with a single, but Taylor struck out another batter, forced a line-out and struck out the final batter for the third out to keep Valentine from putting another run across the plate.

In Hartington’s half of the frame, Cole Rosener started things off with a big double to left, and Carson Arens followed with a single. With the bases loaded, Koby Detlefsen took a pitch to the back, tying the game at two after three innings.

Valentine struck back, scoring a run in the fourth. Hartington’s third pitcher of the game, Braeden Reifenrath, walked one batter and hit another, leading to a single that scored a run. A double play by Hartington kept Valentine to just one run in the frame.

The Hartington bats again went cold in their half of the frame, as the home team was held scoreless.

Valentine scored once more in the fifth inning, as Hartington’s fourth pitcher of the game, Brady Hochstein, walked two batters and gave up a single that scored one.

Jaxson Bernecker came in to pitch the last out, getting the strikeout, but Valentine still had a 4-2 advantage.

Hartington’s offense came alive in the bottom half of the fifth, adding five runs to its total, giving the home team a 7-4 lead.

Bernecker threw a scoreless inning in the sixth to keep the score at 7-4. Another five runs in the bottom of the frame ended the game, 12-4, on the eight-run rule.

Taylor finished as the winning pitcher in the outing. The next contest will be in Hartington at Felber Park against Randolph on May 24 with the juniors starting at 5:30 p.m. and the seniors to follow.