The North Platte First National Bank Juniors made it look easy on Tuesday when they beat Kearney 9-1 at Bill Wood Field.
“It was a fun game,” Juniors coach Jace Barker said. “The boys came out ready to play.”
Kearney (9-6) took the lead when Dylan Welsh sacrificed himself to score the first run of the game with one out in the first inning.
But after that, it was all North Platte (17-2). The First Nationals tied it in the bottom of the first inning when Welsh dropped a Jacob Tobey pop up just behind the infield. Then Bryce Butterfield double to left-center field to score three runs and make it 4-1.
“We had a great start putting up that four spot in the first inning,” Barker said. “That gave us great momentum and that carried us out.”
Kearney pitcher Cal Higgins threw a scoreless second inning but he could not keep North Platte from adding to the lead in the third. It became 5-1 on a sacrifice fly ball by Carson Johnson.
Jeremiah Seamann then scored on a double steal with Trey Barker to make it a five-run game.
Carter Krause relieved Higgins in the fourth after a 45-minute rain delay. Against him, Jaylan Ruffin hit a two-run double to left-center to make it 8-1 and it became 9-1.
North Platte pitcher Will Coe held Kearney scoreless in the fifth to get the complete game victory and end it early due to the mercy rule.
“There was one inning we didn’t score and run-ruling Kearney is always fun,” Barker said. “Will pitched great and we played great defense.”