The North Platte FNBO Seniors scored five runs in the sixth inning to take the lead against Kearney and they held on in the seventh to clinch an 8-7 victory over their arch-rivals on Tuesday at Bill Wood Field.

Kearney jumped all over the Nationals (3-0) and pitcher Jack Polk in the first inning. They scored the first run on Nolan Smith’s double to right field. Kegan Brand followed with a double to left to score Smith. Quin Foster hit another double that landed just fair on the foul line in left field. Jase Blattner singled into left to score two more and make it 5-0.

North Platte started to whittle away at the deficit in the second inning. They scored the first run when Carsen Johnson was hit by Bryce Andersen’s pitch with the bases loaded. The next batter, Carter Kelley, drew a walk to score another run.

Kearney scored again in the third, after Ty Robinson relieved Polk on the mound, when Blattner hit a single into right. But the Nationals got that run back in the bottom of the third when Polk hit a solo home run to left.

It remained 6-3 until North Platte made their big push in the sixth. It started with Johnson hitting an RBI single to right.

Kearney changed pitchers, replacing Rhett Mundorf with Brodie Arnold. Arnold was by far the hardest throwing of the three pitchers Kearney used but he struggled to find the strike zone.

The Nationals pulled to within a run when Dein McIntire hit a sacrifice fly ball to right. North Platte tied the game and took the lead by taking advantage of a pair of wild pitches by Arnold.

Then Landan Greeno, who recently moved to North Platte from Kearney, provided some insurance when he laid down a bunt on the third base side. Arnold fielded the ball but he wasn’t able to throw Greeno out at first base and North Platte took an 8-6 lead.

“I’m really excited about the big inning,” Seniors Head Coach Ricky Holm said. “I had to put my coaching hat on. We had some pinch hits and courtesy runners. But it was one of those times where I put the guys in spots to look good. They did a good job and they did what they needed to do.”

Johnson relieved Robinson to close it out for the Nationals. With no one out, Kearney came within a run when Smith doubled to left. But Johnson got the next three batters in out to preserve the win.

“I’m really excited for the guys,” Holm said. “That’s not the way we drew it up, giving up a five spot in the first inning. Even though we were down by five, we never gave up and we gave our ourselves a chance to come back and win.”

Next, North Platte will host Twin Cities in a doubleheader on Wednesday.

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