KIMBALLTON - So far it has been a cheerful regional tournament for Exira-EHK as they win rounds one and two in solid fashion.
On Monday the Spartans hosted Audubon for their first round of the regional tournament. A big second inning that provided five runs, helped the Spartans eliminate the Wheelers 8-2. Starting the game strong helped set an early tempo and that carried the hometown Spartans to the victory on Monday and Wednesday as well.
“Wednesday was a big, big victory,” Ashton Koehlmoos said. “It old the girls before that game that if we just come and play our game and the way we have been playing, the score will take care of itself. That’s exactly what happend.”
The Spartans then headed away from home and on to Oakland where they faced Riverside. The Spartans wasted no time taking the lead as they scored via a sacrifice fly in the first inning.
Fast forward to the third inning, Exira-EHK got the bats going by scoring four runs to take a 5-0 lead and then added a pair of runs in the fourth to jump to a 7-0 lead. Though the Bulldogs fought back to make it 7-3, thanks to a big night from freshman Macy Emgarten, who reached the 300 strikeout milestone along the way to 12 strikeouts on Wednesday, the Spartans held off Riverside for a big 7-3 win.
“We knew in this game we had to come out early and get a big jump,” Emgarten said. “It was exciting to get a dozen strikeouts, but it’s also good to have my team right behind me. It was exciting to reach the milestone, especially during districts and hopefully I can get some more.”
The key was to just play their game. Eighth grader Shay Burmeister says that the coaches stressed that if they play their game, good things will come, and that’s exactly what gone on for the Spartans for their first two games of regionals.
“Riverside was a very talented team,” Burmeister said. “Coach told us before we came in that we just had to be ready to go, play our game, and do what we do best.”
The Spartans will face their biggest challenge yet as they hit the road to take on class 1A’s fourth ranked Newell-Fonda in the regional semi-final on Friday at 7 p.m.