The Pender American Legion Juniors baseball team punched a ticket to the Class C state tournament with an Area 2 championship secured Tuesday night in Wakefield. The squad, now 19-9, began the tournament as the No. 3 seed in an eight-team bracket, winning three straight games to take the driver’s seat before falling to Hartington on Monday night, 5-4. The locals were able to avenge that loss on Tuesday with a 13-6 win when it mattered most. The team will be playing in the state tournament at St. Paul spanning July 15-19. In this photo, coach Ron Williams is doused with water shortly after the state tournament berth was clinched. Pender’s path to state including beating Wakefield, 7-4 in game one of the Area Tournament, topping Tekamah, 7-5, in game two, defeating Ponca, 7-6 in the third round, falling to Hartington and then avenging the loss. Full tournament results and game stories will be available in next week’s Pender Times. A state bracket will be posted to penderthurston.com later this week as it becomes available.