Photo by James Parrish
North Platte's Nick Martinez lays down a bunt against Hastings.
HASTINGS-The North Platte First National Bank Seniors went on the road on Tuesday and split two games with Hastings.
The First Nationals won the first game 8-2 before losing the second 3-0.
North Platte coach Rick Ostergard said that his team pitched well and played sound defense, which has been the key to its success this year.
"It's always good to get a split but we came in here wanting a sweep," said Ostergard. "But I thought we played a great two games. (Trevor Johnson and Kade Folchert) pitched great and we only had three errors all day."
In the first game at Duncan Field, Ben Sukraw scored the first run for North Platte (9-8) with an RBI single to left field with two outs in the bottom of the first inning.
Hastings tied the game in the bottom of the second after Trevor Johnson made a wild pitch but the First Nationals came back with its strongest offensive output.
North Platte regained the lead on Thatcher Vap's one-out single into left and then with the bases loaded, Jamie McKain hit a double to right with the bases loaded to give the Nationals a 5-1 lead.
In the third inning, Hastings tried to answer back when Matt Karloff brought in a run with a single to right. But in the bottom of the fifth, Hastings pitcher Nate Williams started to tire as he walked Kade Folchert and McKain to start the inning.
Jonah Schulz came in for Williams after the walk to McKain but the First Nationals were still able to score two more runs before adding another in the sixth for good measure.
Johnson then finished Hastings off in the seventh to get the complete game victory.
"We were outhit but we had a good pitching performance," Ostergard said. "(Johnson) pitched himself out of jams all game long."
But in the second game, the bats were silent for North Platte against Mason Spilinek. The Nationals only had one hit against the game two pitcher for Hastings.
Like Johnson in the game before, Folchert kept himself out of trouble in the first four innings. But in the fifth, it caught up with him.
Hastings scored the first run when Xander Schmidt reached on a wild throw to first base by Jared Webster, who was trying to turn an inning-ending double play after getting the force out at second.
Patrick Opperman then followed with an RBI single to right, making it 2-0. Then Schula scored what would be the last run of the night when he grounded a single into left.
The First Nationals couldn't get on track against Spilinek in the sixth and seventh innings and Hastings gave them their first Cornhusker League loss of the season after winning the first four games in the conference.
Ostergard said that his team needs to be better disciplined at the plate to get the count in their favor.
"We hit the ball some but we didn't square up very well," he said. "We just couldn't punch it through tonight. We chased a lot of curveballs."