The North Platte First National Bank Juniors exploded in the fourth and fifth innings to beat Lexington 19-9 on Friday night in the first round of the Area 7 tournament at Bill Wood Field.
"Anytime you can get a win in districts where it is win or go home, it's big," said North Platte coach Adam Sterup. "We didn't play our best but we won and that's all that matters."
North Platte opened the game with three runs in the top of the first inning. But in the bottom half, the First Nationals imploded and gave up six runs against Lexington.
Sterup blamed that poor half inning on nerves.
"We came out with a lot of jitters and we didn't look too comfortable," Sterup said.
The Nationals scored one run in the second and in the fourth, they took control by scoring nine runs for a 13-6 lead.
Then after Alec Wesslund threw his third straight scoreless inning in the bottom of the fourth, North Platte put up six more for good measure.
Wesslund ran into trouble in the bottom of the fifth, but he only allowed three runs to Lexington and the game ended early due to the 10-run rule.
On Saturday night, the First Nationals will play No. 1-seed Twin Cities while Lexington plays an elimination game against Kearney.
"This was about as well as we've hit the ball all year long, so we'll take it," Sterup said. "We hope that carries over into tomorrow."