HCHS tops Knights for fifth straight H-10 softball win

 HARLAN (June 17) -- Harlan Community won its fifth consecutive Hawkeye Ten softball game on Thursday night, holding off a determined Kuemper Catholic squad 5-3 at H. Jack Field.
 After the Knights tied things up, 3-3, in the top of the fourth, HCHS plated singles runs in the fourth and sixth innings to improve its conference record to 9-2 and get to 15-5 overall.
 The Cyclones also beat Kuemper 13-1 in the May 24 season opener, but the rematch was much more competitive.
 Junior Tianna Kasperbauer (7-1) pitched the first four innings and picked up the win. Senior Emily Brouse pitched three scoreless innings of relief for her second save and got a big assist from center fielder Julia Schechinger along the way.
 After the Knights’ eight and nine-hole hitters opened the sixth with a single and a walk, Brouse retired the next two batters on a fly out and a K before Brianna Lux hit a long fly ball to the right-center field gap. Ranging far to her left, Schechinger saved two runs with a fine running catch and Brouse worked around a seventh-inning error to turn out the lights.
 Kasperbauer allowed six hits and three runs (one earned) in her four innings and Brouse allowed two hits and no runs. They struck out a combined eight batters, walked two and hit one.
 Offensively, the Cyclones took a 1-0 lead in the second when Brouse hit a one-out double and scored on Aurora Miller’s single. They made it 3-1 in the third on RBI singles by Jordan Heese and Brouse.
 Hailey Ostrander, who doubled and scored Kuemper’s first run in the third, capped a two-run fourth with an RBI triple that eluded the glove of a diving Schechinger and tied the score.
 HCHS answered right back in the home half of the inning when Kennedy Kjergaard reached on an error, stole second base, went to third on an error and scored the go-ahead run on Kate Heithoff’s sacrifice fly.
 The Cyclones added insurance in the sixth when Ella Plagman and Heithoff both singled and Plagman scored on an error.
 Heithoff and Brouse both went 2-for-3 on the night as HCHS outhit the Knights 9-8.
 Ostrander had a three-hit game for Kuemper as Chloe Venteicher (four innings) and Kamryn Venner (two) split the pitching duties. The Knights fell to 10-8 overall and 4-4 in conference play.
HCHS goes 1-3 at Fort Dodge
 The Cyclones placed 15th out of 16 teams in the Fort Dodge Softball Tournament this past weekend, going 1-3 at the Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex.
 On Friday, HCHS was defeated 13-2 by Pleasant Valley and 12-0 by Atlantic. Bishop Heelan outlasted the Cyclones 8-7 on Saturday morning before they finished with a 6-2 win over GTRA.
 HCHS (16-8 overall) hosted Red Oak for a varsity doubleheader on Monday and will stay home to face Lewis Central Tuesday night and Abraham Lincoln Wednesday night.

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