Mustangs deal Spartans first loss in 1A regional softball final

 FONDA (July 20) -- Exira-Elk Horn-Kimballton’s magical 2020 softball season fell one win shy of its ultimate goal on Monday night as the 9th-ranked Spartans lost to 2nd-ranked Newell-Fonda 10-0 in five innings in a Class 1A, Region 2 final.
 Exira-EHK found itself in a 6-0 hole after one inning and couldn’t recover as N-F eighth-grader Kierra Jungers pitched an abbreviated one-hit shutout with one walk and eight strikeouts. Tatum Grubbs had the only hit for E-EHK.
 The Mustangs were led by two hits each from Bailey Sievers (three runs scored)and Megan Morenz and a double by Anna Bellcock. They totaled nine hits and also stole six bases, adding to their six-run first with two runs in the third and single tallies in the fourth and fifth.
 Newell-Fonda (18-2) faced Lisbon (20-3) in the first round of the State Softball Tournament on July 28.
 The Spartans, who also had their 2019 season ended by N-F in the regional semifinal round, finished 15-1 after entering postseason play as the only unbeaten team in Class 1A.
 “Newell-Fonda put the ball in play and put a lot of pressure on our defense. Their speed on the bases was difficult to combat,” stated Exira-EHK head coach Andrea Nulle. “Our bats never got into a rhythm, which is something we have been able to do all season long. Newell-Fonda is a very good team and I expect them to go far at state.”
 The Spartans, who played their three regional games without starting third baseman Mollie Rasmussen, will return most of their players in 2021 but will lose three seniors in Kami Waymire, Lexi Madsen and Caitlin Meyers.

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