Kearney scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning on Tuesday to overtake the North Platte FNBO Juniors on their way to a 7-6 win on Tuesday at Bill Wood Field.
There are no moral victories. But Juniors Head Coach Kole Harrach was encouraged with how his team competed in their first game, playing a team that beat them by over 30 runs combined in the three games they played against Kearney last year.
“Kearney’s a really strong team year after year and I was proud of how our guys battled and fought,” he said. “We made mistakes but we were able to come back from them and work hard. We pitched well, we hit well and we just battled back.”
Kearney went ahead in the second inning when Devin Carrell hit a two-run single into right field. But North Platte rallied back in the next inning.
The Nationals got on the board in the bottom of the third with Gabe Moreno scoring on a double steal with Ty Davis. Ty Haneborg doubled to right to tie the game. North Platte then took the lead by scoring on a wild pitch by Rydge Jackson.
“We have a lot of the same guys we had last year and there were a lot of times we got down early and that was bad news for us,” Harrach said. “I was proud of how we stayed focused and everybody was positive. They were confident they could keep fighting and battling.”
In the fourth inning, Kearney tied the game when catcher Kole Jones made a throwing error and they took the lead when Keaton Wemhoff hit a sacrifice fly ball to right.
In the fifth, North Platte tied the game at 4-4 when Austin Lindsey hit a two-out single to right. Davis Winter followed with a single of his own to right to give the Nationals the lead.
Haneborg, the North Platte pitcher, held Kearney scoreless in the sixth. But in the seventh, Kearney tied the game again with Gunner Demilt’s single to left. Carrell then hit a grounder that went between the legs of Winter at second base to score two runs.
That play was the difference in the game. Tysen Cabela came in to pitch for Kearney. The Nationals pulled within one when Moreno hit a two-out double to left. But Jones popped out to Cabela to end the game.
“Everybody came up, they were just trying to make plays and compete,” Harrach said. “Down to the last out, our mistakes were mistakes were plays we were trying to win the game.”
Next, the Juniors will play a doubleheader against Twin Cities at Scottsbluff on Wednesday.
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