The North Platte First National Bank of Omaha Legion baseball team split their last home doubleheader of the year on Saturday against Twin Cities.
The Nationals outslugged the Zephyrs, 10-6, in the first game before falling, 7-3, in the second.
“We came out and got the first one like we expected,” North Platte coach Andy Butler said. “In the second game, we hit the ball hard but right at guys. That’s going to happen sometimes. We had one bad inning that we messed up a couple routine plays. We tried to come back a few times but when you hit at them, there’s not much you can do.”
North Platte (27-12) scored first in game one on a passed ball by catcher Creighton Dike in the second inning.
Twin Cities tied the game in the fourth when K.J. Hartline hit a ball that went off the glove of Cody Wright in right field for a triple. The Zephyrs took the lead when Jace Heimerman hit one that went off the glove of first baseman Jeremiah Seamann.
The Nationals responded in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Tate Janas hit a single that went off shortstop Jared Balthazor to tie the game. Then Jaylan Ruffin sacrificed himself to score the go-ahead run by grounding to Balthazor.
North Platte kept it going in the fifth. Seamann singled to center to expand the lead. Derrick Kuhlmann then followed with a single into left to score another run. Then Will Coe hit a bloop single to right to make it 6-2.
Heimerman, the Zephyr pitcher, was relieved by Porter Robbins. Against Robbins, Jaylan Ruffin hit a single to right to score another run. Then the last run of the inning was scored when Coe took home on a double steal with Ruffin.
Twin Cities threatened in the sixth. They scored two runs off a pair of errors and then Robbins hit one that went off the pitcher, Coe, and into center to score two more, cutting the lead to 8-6.
But the Nationals got some of the lead back in the bottom of the sixth. Wright and Bryce Butterfield got hits that scored a run each to make it a four-run game.
In the seventh, Carter Kelley, who relieved Coe to get the last out of the sixth, retired the Zephyrs in order to close out the win.
“Will pitched a heck of a game, he threw strikes like he always does,” Butler said. “We had a few good innings. It was a complete win. We stopped a comeback and we pulled it out.”
In the second game, Twin Cities got ahead by scoring the first six runs in the second inning. North Platte scored a run each in the second and third but that was the closest they got against Tate Carson, who got the complete game victory for the Zephyrs.
“When it’s a combo of a couple errors and a walk, it’s tough to contend with that,” Butler said. “We were able to limit the damage but when the first six guys come up and score, it’s tough to win.”
North Platte will play Twin Cities again in Scottsbluff on Friday for one game before playing Cheyenne, Wyo. right afterward. It will be the last outing of the season for the Nationals.