After a rough start, the Johnson Imperial Homes junior team rallied in the fifth inning and secured a 5-3 win Wednesday over Kearney Legion Post 52 at Duncan Field.

The first inning was especially tough on the JIH defense. That’s because Kearney greeted Hastings’ pitcher Trayton Newman with 2 runs. They resulted from two hit batters, a walk and a single.

But the JIH hurler brushed the first inning aside and closed the contest by pitching a complete game victory. Newman stayed in control most of the way, giving up just four hits while the JIH defense made just one error.

The Hastings win snapped a two-game skid as JIH improved to 11-3.

This was the first of two games between the two teams. Hastings travels to Kearney June 26.

JIH coach Blake Marquardt was quick to praise Newman’s pitching.

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Johnson Imperial Homes' Treyton Newman pitches during their game against Kearney Wednesday at Duncan Field.

“It was a very gutsy performance by our starting pitcher,” Marquardt said. “The first inning didn’t go how we wanted. But our pitcher, he settled in. Then he continued to throw strikes, and our defense got behind him the rest of the game.”

Kearney’s starting pitcher, Cal Higgins, held command until the fifth inning, when JIH scored all of its runs. Higgins had to be relieved from the game before the inning ended.

Hastings’ runs came on three hits and two errors.

Higgins had carried a no-hitter into the fifth frame. But Cambren Montague ended the no-hit bid by slapping a single to center field. JIH loaded the bases and their scoring barrage began.

Scoring in the fifth inning for JIH were Luke Kirkegaard, Nathan Burns, Braden Kalvelage and Kaden Evans

Like Kearney, JIH could only muster four hits, two of them by Montague. Beau Dreher and Tristan Richman hit a single each.

“We knew Higgins was a tough guy,” Marquardt said. “He’s a big guy, has good velocity and an off-speed. When it broke open, our guys got the momentum and we rallied through the inning.”

Kearney’s record slipped to 7-4

“Wins against teams like Kearney are big. It is a team that is good one through nine, with a good guy on the mound and a good defense,” Marquardt said.

Kearney – 2 0 0   0 1 0  0 – 3 4 2

JIH – 0 0 0  0 5 0  X – 5 4 1

WP – Trayton Newman.  LP – Cal Higgins

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Five Points Bank third baseman Jake Shaw tags out Kearney baserunner Korben Rich during their game Wednesday at Duncan Field.

Kearney Runza 8, Hastings Five Points Bank 7

Two late rallies weren’t enough Wednesday for Hastings Five Points Bank, as they fell to Kearney Runza 8-7 in the late game at Duncan Field.

FPB trailed 5-0 in the top of the fifth. But Hastings put up two runs in its half of the frame. Scoring for Hastings were Tyson Gotto and Jake Shaw.

Kearney upped its lead to 8-2 in the sixth inning. But Hastings exploded for four runs in its sixth-inning at bats. Hastings runners who got home safely were Shaw, Ashton Valentine, Gabe Conant and Tyson Bonham.

Hastings rallied for one more run in the seventh and final inning when Gotto made it home on a ground out.

FPB’s record slipped to 9-2 while Kearney Runza improved to 7-1.

Kearney – 0 0 0  5 1 2 0 – 8 10  4

FBP – 0 0 0  2 0 4  1 – 7  4  4

WP – Keegan Thurston.  LP – Jake Shaw

2B – K, Brandt Groskreutz, Mason Casper

3B – H, Tyson Bonham

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