By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Despite giving up six runs in the first two innings, Imperial Crush stayed right with Haxtun, Colo., in an afternoon baseball game at Campbell Park Sunday.
Although Imperial lost the game, 7-12, the home town team did much better at the plate and defensively against undefeated Haxtun, compared to the teams’ first meeting in May.
Haxtun struck first in the top of the first, when Zach Krueger homered after Haxtun’s first two batters walked. After another walk, Imperial shut the next three batters down with two pop-ups and a ground-out.
Trailing 0-3, Imperial’s Lance Milner walked, then scored Imperial’s first run later on a throwing error.
Haxtun connected with another three-run homer in the second inning by M. Lampman to go up 6-1.
But Crush retaliated with three runs of its own in the second. Carl Zuege singled to open the inning, Sean Munger walked, then a single from Jerel Fortkamp scored Zuege.
A fielder’s choice scored Munger, then Milner doubled to score Fortkamp as Imperial pulled within two, 4-6.
After holding Haxtun scoreless in the third, Imperial’s Scott Way blasted a one-run homer over the left field fence in the bottom of the inning, as Imperial pulled within one, 5-6.
Another Haxtun homer in the fourth from L. Woltemath put them up by two again, 5-7, but Imperial matched it with an RBI single from Derek Russell in Imperial’s fourth.
Both teams were scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings, but Haxtun’s Krueger homered again in the seventh, giving Haxtun a 6-8 lead.
Imperial put one on the board in their half of the seventh after Milner singled. He moved around the bases, stealing second, third and home, pulling Imperial within one again, 7-8.
Both teams failed to score in the eighth, but Haxtun put four across in the ninth on four hits and an Imperial error. In Imperial’s last at-bat, all three batters went down on strikes.
Carl Zuege pitched the first two innings for Imperial, facing nine batters, walking five and had no strike-outs.
Darrin Schultz pitched the final seven innings, facing 34 batters, striking out seven and walking none.
Each pitcher gave up six runs.
Haxtun outhit Imperial 12 to seven. Milner led the Imperial hitters, going 2-3. Way, Zuege, Fortkamp, Russell and Eric McDaniel were all 1-4 at the plate.
Crush to host Sidney Sunday
Crush will be at home again this Sunday, July 12, when they host Sidney for a 1 p.m. game at Campbell Park.
Crush hopes to avenge an earlier loss this season at Sidney. The team from Sidney has a 1-2 record, while Imperial stands at 2-3 this week.
Imperial awarded district wood bat tournament
Word was received last week that Imperial will host the area Class B district tournament for the Nebraska Baseball Association.
Crush Player/Coach Matt Jablonski said he put in Imperial’s name for the tournament, set for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 8-9, at Campbell Park, and was notified last week by the state director that it will be in Imperial.
Teams besides Imperial Crush in the district include Haxtun, Kimball and Sidney.
The Imperial Baseball/Softball Association will be working with the Crush team players on getting ready for the tournament next month.
Volunteers will be needed for concession stand work, taking gate admissions, scorekeeping and other tasks.
Anyone interested in volunteering during the tournament can contact Jill Moline at 883-5389.
Imperial’s proceeds from the tournament will be shared between the ball association and the Crush team.