CROFTON - Hartington’s State Tournament hopes stay alive with a 6-3 victory over Creighton to advance to the semifinals of the American Legion Seniors Class C Area 1 Tournament.
It was the third time the two teams faced off this season, with Creighton winning both of the previous match-ups, 8-2 and 3-2. Both of those games were in Creighton though, and this was at a neutral site in Crofton.
“Hats off to Creighton,” said Hartington head coach Don Whitmire. “They’re a good ball club with a good pitcher on the mound. We grinded and we found ways to get on. The first game they got us 8-2, the last game they won in the bottom of the seventh, we got this one, so hats off to them. Thankfully, we had Turner [Korth] who came out and pitched a gem for us tonight, and the kids played like they should. They were aggressive, they got after the ball and they weren’t afraid to make plays tonight.”
Turner Korth started on the mound for Hartington and went six and two-thirds innings before maxxing out his pitch count. He earned the win with no earned runs out of the three that came across, and just three hits while striking out six and walking one.
“I just came out there and my arm felt great tonight, it felt really good,” said Korth. “It is a lot easier to pitch out on that mound when you have teammates making catches, getting on base and scoring. It makes it a lot easier on the mound.”
Korth had some spectacular help in the field. Sam Feilmeier started off the top of the fifth with one of the most impressive plays of the night, sliding in for a difficult catch in left field to start the inning.
“It’s just great when you know your team is down and ready and you know they have your back,” said Korth. “It gives you a real boost on the mound knowing they have your back out there.”
That confidence that Feilmeier showed with the sliding catch was exemplified by the entire Hartington team at the plate. Six different batters found their way on base with a walk, and Seth Wiebelhaus’ stand up RBI triple in the third inning brought Austin Arens across to score. That RBI tied the game at 2-2 right after Creighton had taken the lead with a two-run third inning. Wiebelhaus would then take home on a wild pitch that bounced off the backstop to Creighton catcher Wyatt Diedrichson and was a closer play than many fans expected it would be.
Creighton would tie the game back up in the top of the sixth inning when JD Kuhlman would lead off the inning with a double. He then advanced to third on a fly out to center by John Novicki, and would score on a fielding error by Hartington shortstop Dain Whitmire.
Hartington would minimize the damage and get out of the inning on a fly out to center by the very next batter, and then the Hartington offense would respond again.
This time Hartington scored three runs after loading the bases and working the runs across on a fielders choice, a walk, and a hit by pitch.
“I’ve said how this team is young and can be timid at times, but not tonight,” said coach Whitmire. “They put their teeth in the dirt and went after the baseball, but they weren’t afraid to make the play tonight.”
With the win, Hartington forced two games to be played on Tuesday night. Hartington faced Neligh in the semifinals, with the winner facing Creighton in the finals. The winner of the Area Tournament advanced to the State Tournament beginning this Saturday in Albion.
Creighton 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 3 5 2
Hartington 1 0 2 0 3 0 x 6 4 3
Hartington - Brady Steffen, 1-3, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K; Turner Korth, 1-4; Seth Wiebelhaus, 2-4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 3B, 1 K; Jacob Keiser, 0-2, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB; Dain Whitmire, 0-2, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB; Sam Feilmeier, 0-2, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K; Owen Heimes, 0-0, 1 RBI, 2 BB; Nolan Klug, 0-1, 1 K; Ted Bengston, 0-2, 1 K; Austin Arens, 0-2, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K. Creighton - Bryce Zimmerer, 1-4; Levi Stacken, 1-4, 1 R, 1 K; JD Kuhlman, 2-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 2B, 1 K; Wyatt Diedrickson, 0-1, 1 BB, 1 K; Mitchell Mackeprang, 0-3; John Novicki, 0-3, 1 K; Noah Lilly, 0-3, 1 RBI, 2 K; Alex Homan, 0-3, 1 K; Connor Hammer, 1-3, 1 R.
Hartington - W - Turner Korth, 6.2 IP, 3 R, 0 ER, 3 H, 6 K, 1 BB; SV - Sam Feilmeier, 0.1 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 K. Creighton - Bryce Zimmerer, 3.0 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 H, 6 K, 5 BB; John Novicki, 3.0 IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 H, 3 K, 2 BB.