With a combined 13 errors on Saturday, the North Platte First National Bank Juniors lost two games to open their annual Memorial Day weekend tournament at Bill Wood Field.
The Juniors lost the first game to Lincoln East by a score of 10-4 and then the nightcap to Columbus, 16-9.
"We really need to pick it up, defensively," said Juniors coach Adam Sterup. "It's hard to beat anybody when you make 13 errors, especially two teams who are playing good baseball right now."
The Juniors (2-3) had a good start to the day. They scored two runs in the first inning on RBI base hits by Darian Allberry and Drew Callaghan. But then the errors started to occur.
In the third inning, Lincoln East scored its first run when Brad Martens reached on third baseman Riley Vieyra's throwing error to first base.
An inning later, Callaghan, the North Platte pitcher, got into a jam with the bases loaded and nobody out. In the top of the fourth, East took the lead for good by scoring four runs.
The First Nationals scored twice in the bottom half of the inning to cut the lead to 5-4. But in the fifth, Callaghan reached his limit and had to be relieved by Devan Hovden. In the fifth, the Spartans scored two more runs to regain a three-run cushion.
East scored once in the sixth and twice in the seventh to finish the game.
"The errors just took the wind out of our sails," Sterup said. "I thought Drew threw a great game. But when you make errors, you end up having to throw extra pitches and we had to take him out early."
Later against Columbus, North Platte fell behind big early giving up four runs each in the first two innings. Going into the bottom of the fifth down 10-2, the First Nationals were on the brink of being eliminated early due to the run rule. But they scored six runs to get back into the game.
The run didn't last however. Columbus scored one run in the sixth and five in the seventh for good measure to put the game away.
"We took advantage of their walks by scoring runs but then again, the errors came back to bite us," said Sterup. "We've got to learn from our mistakes on defense."
On Sunday, North Platte will play Gering twice. Like the First Nationals, Gering also lost to Lincoln East and Columbus on Saturday.