A two-run hit by Tyler Ferguson in the sixth inning propelled the North Platte First National Bank Juniors to a 4-3 win over Hastings on Wednesday at Bill Wood Field."It all starts with our defense and our pitching," said Juniors coach Andy Butler, a former Hastings Legion player. "Braden (Stiffler) threw strikes and that's been our M.O. If we throw strikes and play good defense, we know that in the sixth inning, seventh inning, we'll be in prime position to score runs. It came again, like it has so many times this year."
Hastings established themselves right away. C.J. Remmenga sacrificed himself to score the first run of the game in the first inning and then with two outs, Leif Spady singled up the middle to make it 2-0.
But pitcher Braden Stiffler settled down and held Hastings scoreless in the next three innings. On the other end though, North Platte had a hard time putting anything together against Remmenga, the Hastings pitcher.
In the fourth inning, the First Nationals rallied. Jalen Dickinson grounded into a fielder's choice for a sacrifice RBI to make it 2-1 and then Brett Riggs hit a two-out single to left field to tie it.
Hastings got the lead right back in the fifth, when Remmenga sacrificed himself for another run batted in.
But with two outs in the sixth, Ferguson slammed a double to left that rolled to the wall, scoring two runs and giving North Platte their first lead of the game.
Then in the seventh, Riggs, who relieved Stiffler the inning before, retired Hastings in order to put the finishing touches on the win.
"We just finally connected on some balls and we barreled them up," Butler said. "We had a couple of guys walk and we put a lot of pressure on their defense. We forced the error and capitalized when Ferg had the great hit off the wall."