Photo by James Parrish
North Platte's Kade Folchert throws a pitch in the second against Kearney.
The North Platte First National Bank Seniors ended a lengthy losing streak against its arch-rival Kearney on Tuesday with Kade Folchert throwing a complete game 1-0 shutout at Bill Wood Field.
"He did a stellar job," said Seniors coach Rick Ostergard of Folchert. "He got ground balls, pop-ups. They only got two or three solid hits against us."
Going into Tuesday's matchup, both North Platte and Kearney threw their respective aces with Folchert getting the call for the First Nationals and Derek Schriner pitching for Kearney.
Both Folchert and Schriner cruised along in the first two innings. But in the bottom of the third, Schriner ran into some trouble and Jamie McKain scored the only run of the game with his two-out single into left field.
"They kicked the ball around in (the third) inning and we made them pay," Ostergard said.
In recent history against North Platte, Kearney has been able to take advantage of even the slightest amount of momentum and turn it into a big inning. But on Tuesday, Folchert didn't allow it.
Even when Kearney did catch a break, the Nationals defense came up big coming up with double plays to get out of the inning on two different occasions.
"The defense played great," said Folchert. "It saved me a couple of times. (Luke) Volz and Webb City (Jared Webster) turned a double play for me a couple of times."
Going into the bottom of the seventh, North Platte was three outs away from finally beating Kearney. Anthony Pacheco led off the inning with a single to center to put the tying run on base.
Then Schriner brought him to second base with a sacrifice bunt. Grady Kowalski then grounded out to Jared Webster at second base to put Pacheco 90-feet away from home with two outs.
On the deciding play, Yocum grounded a ball to the right side toward first baseman Jordan Enderle. The ball got by Enderle, making everyone in the North Platte dugout gasp. But it didn't have enough juice to get into right field and a couple of seconds later, Enderle recovered the ball. Folchert was already to the bag and Enderle flipped it to him right before Yocum reached first and the game was over.
On Tuesday, Folchert gave North Platte its first win over Kearney since 2006 and last year, he was also the winning pitcher in the Seniors' first win against Grand Island since 2004.
"Those are both good teams and to get the victory over both of them is big," Folchert said.