SEWARD – With the Class C State Tournament this weekend in Hastings, the Gresham 18-U softball team is using the early part of the week to fine tune things before their opening game on Friday.

On Monday night the Blackbirds gave up six runs in the bottom of the sixth in game one, but held on for the 8-7 win.

The second game was an 11-2 Gresham win as they outhit the hosts 10-1 in in the second game.

Gresham 8, Seward Jazz 7

A pair of three run innings for Gresham in the fifth and sixth innings had the Blackbirds on top comfortably at 8-1.

But the Jazz plated six runs in the bottom of the sixth, before Kailey Ziegler came in to relive starter Hunter Hartshorn. She recorded the third out with a fly ball to third base for the save.

Gresham had seven hits in the game led by Emily Neujahr, Shelby Ziegler and Hunter Hartshorn with one hit each and a combined four RBIs.

Neujahr struck the big blow in the first with a two-run double. Both Neujahr and Ziegler were 1 for 2, while Hartshorn was 1 for 3.

“We had some key errors in the sixth that allowed them to make a big comeback,” said Blackbirds’ head coach Joe Dey. “Ziegler came in and she finished the job.”

Gresham was tracked with five errors in the game, while Seward had three.

Hartshorn worked 5 1/3 innings and allowed four hits; seven runs. She walked seven and had two strikeouts.

Gresham 11, Seward 2

Both teams scored two runs each in their half of the first inning, but after that Gresham starter Daycee Dey did not allow another run and struck out two batters while walking three. She gave up two runs on one hit.

On the offense it was Brooklyn Gierhan with two hits in two at bats, with a double and a run batted in.

Also collecting two hits was Asia Nisly who was 2 for 2 with an RBI, while Ziegler had one hit in two at bats and drove in a team high two runs.

Gresham led just 3-2 when they came to bat in the third, but plated four runs each in the third and fourth and was still batting in the fourth when time expired.

Seward struggled in the field with five errors to just one for the Blackbirds.

Gresham will play at 3 p.m. on Friday against the winner of the Southern Storm and West Point Heat which will take place at 10 a.m. on Friday.

The tournament runs through Sunday with the first championship game scheduled for 4:45 p.m.

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