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The Neligh Juniors moved into the Area 1 District semifinal thanks to a crushing victory over Crofton on Saturday afternoon.
Named the bottom seed due to the limited number of teams they’ve faced this season, Neligh upset host and top seed Pierce on Friday night before manhandling No. 4 Crofton 19-1 in just five innings in Saturday's quarterfinals.
Against Crofton, Neligh jumped out to a 6-0 lead during their first at-bat. Neligh first four runners on base all were courtesy of walks, including Brock Kester who was the first to score via a walk. Kester, Hunter Charf, Hunter Reestman, Garett Belitz, Kaleb Pofahl and Conor Ramold all scored in the first inning.
The fourth inning was just as dominating with eight runs scored. Ramold started things off with a single and Dawson Kaup followed it up with a single to left field. Lead-off batter Beau Murray hit both home with a single. Kester then singled to left to score Murray. Belitz, Andrew Jacobsen, Pofahl and Ramold also hit singles. All scored in the inning. Kaup walked onto base and also scored.
Pofahl earned the win as the starter. Also taking a turn on the mound were Jacobsen, Charf and Belitz. The Neligh pitchers combined for seven strikeouts and four hits against Crofton.
The Juniors will play again in Pierce on Sunday at 7 p.m. as they take on the winner of No. 2 Hartington/No. 3 Creighton. The district tournament is double-elimination with the winner advancing to the Class C state tournament in Battle Creek on July 14-18.
Neligh 602 812 - 19
Crofton 010 000 - 1
WP: Kaleb Pofahl.