The North Platte High softball team won the first two games of the state softball tournament on Wednesday.

The Lady Bulldogs (31-9) won their first round game against Lincoln Southeast, 4-1, and in the quarterfinals against Lincoln Southwest, 7-3, at the Bill Smith Softball Complex in Hastings.

NPHS will play Papillion-LaVista (34-0) in the state semifinals on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

In the first game, the Bulldogs fell behind when Lincoln Southeast (30-13) scored in the third inning. But in the sixth, North Platte surged and scored four runs on hits by Lauren Horne and Tahjzha Botts.

In the seventh, pitcher Tatum Montelongo shut down the Knights to put the Lady Dawgs in the winner’s bracket.

North Platte opened scoring in the next game against Lincoln Southwest (33-8) with a run in the second inning. The Silverhawks came right back in the bottom half of the inning to take a 2-1 lead.

But the Bulldogs scored two to move ahead and NPHS gradually pulled away. They scored a run each in the next two innings and two in the sixth.

Southwest mustered just one run in the seventh inning before they were dispatched.

In the win over the Silverhawks, Aspen Nelson had two hits and batted in two runs. Shelby Yoshida also had two hits and drove in one run.

Montelongo pitched all 14 innings on the day. Against Southeast, she had 10 strikeouts and against Southwest, she struck out eight.

It was the first time in 13 state tournament appearances that the Bulldogs have won the first two games. In their best finish in 1997, North Platte lost the opening game to Lincoln Southeast before rallying to make the state finals, where they lost to Papillion-LaVista.

The only other time the Bulldogs won their first game at state was in 2015, when they upset Beatrice, 5-3, followed by losses to Elkhorn South and Hastings.