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Hickman Legion Seniors capture state title

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BROKEN BOW -- The Hickman Legion Seniors were able to capture a Class B State Championship Wednesday in Broken Bow.

Eaden Holt's RBI single in the top of the seventh inning scored Johnathan Hood, which broke a 5-5 tie. Hickman's defense was able to hold in the bottom of the seventh, preserving the 6-5 win and a state title.

Holt did it all for Hickman in the game. He led the offense with a grand slam home run, two singles and five RBI's. Holt also pitched five innings and gave up five earned runs on 10 hits while striking out four and walking one.

It wasn't looking good early on for Hickman. Waverly scored two runs in the first inning and two more runs in the second inning to open a 4-0 lead.

Hickman got one of those runs back in the third inning. With one out, Holt walked and both Collier Hestermann and Carson Baker singled to load the bases. After a ground out, Logan Michel walked to force in a run, making it 4-1.

Hickman then scored four runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 5-4 lead. Brady Butler, Emry Burnley and Colton Wahlstrom all singled to load the bases with nobody out. Holt's grand slam home run brought them all in, making it 5-4.

A single and a double in the bottom of the fourth allowed Waverly to tie it 5-5.

The score would remain tied going into the bottom of the sixth when Waverly got their lead off batter on. A sacrifice bunt moved him to second base and a ground out advanced him to third, but Waverly was unable to come up with the big hit, keeping the game tied.

In the top of the seventh, Butler would lead off with a single and Burnley's sacrifice bunt moved Butler to second. Hood would then come into run for Butler.

The next Hickman batter popped out, keeping the runner at second, but Holt would come up big again with a two-out RBI single, making it 6-5.

Waverly's first two hitters made outs in the bottom of the seventh, but a walk would then give them hope. A fly out out to Hestermann in left field would end the game, giving Hickman the state title.

In addition to Holt's day at the plate,  Hestermann had a double and a single, Baker and Butler had two singles each, Keiser Papenhagen had a double and Burnley had a single. 

Baker pitched the final two innings in relief of Holt, giving up no runs on no hits while striking out one and walking one.

Hickman would have only had to be beaten once on Wednesday since they fell to Columbus Lakeview 15-6 on Tuesday.

The game was tied 1-1 when Columbus Lakeview scored seven runs in the third inning to make it 8-1. Hickman scored a run in the bottom of third and four runs in the fifth inning to climb back in it, but Lakeview added two runs in the fifth and five runs in the sixth to hold Hickman off.

Hickman had eight hits in the game, including a home run and four RBI's from Michel. Butler, Holt, Schmidt and Burnley had a double each while Hestermann, Baker and Wahlstrom had a single each.

Hood pitched two innings for Hickman, giving up three earned runs on no hits while striking out two and walking six. Stone pitched 2.2 innings, giving up seven runs (six earned) on five hits while striking out one and walking two. Hefflefinger pitched 1.1 innings, giving up five runs (two earned) on six hits while striking out one and walking two.

The Hickman Legion Seniors finish the season with a 36-6 record.

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