The North Platte First National Bank Seniors gutted out a pair of wins Friday as they swept Laramie, Wyo. in a doubleheader, 5-4 and 9-8, at Bill Wood Field.
“I felt really good for the boys, they needed that confidence booster,” Seniors coach Ty Brockmoller said. “I was proud of the way they grinded throughout the game. I’m just proud of the way we played.”
In the first game, Laramie scored the first run when Jaykob Ahrenholtz drew a walk from Eli Cox with the bases loaded in the first inning.
North Platte (10-21) tied the game with Gus Kreber’s single to left field in the bottom of the first. But Laramie regained the lead in the third with a two-run single by Michael Schutterle.
The Rangers added to the lead in the sixth when Alex Flores hit into a fielder’s choice.
But in the bottom of the sixth, Ben Ruckman relieved Reston Morehouse for Laramie and that allowed the First Nationals to get back in it.
North Platte scored the first run on an error and then Dylan Younghans sacrificed himself to bring in another one to make it 4-3. Then with two outs, Jacob Swift got an infield single to tie the game.
The Nationals had the chance to win it in the bottom of the seventh after Tyler Ferguson came in for Cox and held the Rangers scoreless.
Ferguson and Kreber drew walks from new pitcher Caleb Eaton. Then Dolan Branch reached on an error before Ferguson scored on a wild pitch to win it.
“The pitchers threw strikes and they kept us in the game,” Brockmoller said. “Defensively, we played really well. Our approaches at the plate were pretty good. We had eight or nine hits, which resulted in five runs and that was just enough. We just found a way to win it.”
The momentum carried over into the second game as North Platte scored two runs in each of the first two innings.
But Laramie scored two in the third and four in the fourth to take the lead.
Both teams then traded runs and Laramie led 8-5 going into the bottom of the sixth, where the First Nationals scored a pair of runs to come within striking distance again in the seventh.
Against Schutterle, who came in to get the save as Laramie’s third pitcher of the game, Sam Malsbury tied the game with a two-out double to left. Then Ferguson reached on an error and Jacob Swift rounded the hot corner at third base, catching the Rangers off-guard to give North Platte the sweep.
“In the second game, defensively, we didn’t play that game,” Brockmoller said. “I thought Sam Malsbury threw pretty well but we couldn’t make a play. We just competed and didn’t give up. I thought we were going to win it because our energy levels were up. We found a way to win both and that was pleasing because I don’t know if we do that at the beginning of the year.”
North Platte has one more regular season game scheduled, which is at Cozad on Wednesday. But the feeling is that will be nixed, leaving North Platte with nearly two weeks off before they begin districts on July 19.