The North Platte High School softball team finished as the district runner-up on Friday after losing 12-1 to Bellevue West in the championship round.On Friday morning, the Lady Bulldogs (19-12) moved into the A-7 finals by beating Omaha Central 12-1. NPHS took advantage of walks by Central pitcher Lia Mancuso to get a strong offensive output and an easy win.
"We came up sharp and it was nice to run-rule them," said North Platte coach B.J. Songster. "It's too bad things didn't work out later."
In the next game, Bellevue West (21-9) set the tone when Linzy Hein hit a three-run home run off of Ashten Hernandez with one out in the top of the first inning.
The Lady Dawgs got a little offense going in the bottom half of the inning when Sydney Standage got an RBI double off of Hein for the first North Platte run off of the Thunderbird pitcher in 15 innings.
But in the third, West went back to work. Hein drew a walk from Hernandez with the bases loaded to make it 4-1. Then Kerrigan Flynn doubled to left field, scoring two more.
Kaite Franzen came on for Hernandez after Flynn's double and after the switch the Thunderbirds scored three more runs for a 9-1 lead.
In the fourth, Bellevue West put up three more runs to put the run rule into effect and Hein shut down the Bulldogs again to finish it in four.
"It was a tough loss," Songster said. "It's not easy to get second place in your district. They were hitting the ball and we weren't hitting holes."
Despite falling short of the state tournament, it was a good year for the NPHS softball team, earning the home-field for districts with a top-seven finish in the NSAA point standings.
The Lady Dawgs are still a relatively young team, graduating only four seniors.
"(Hosting districts) was a huge accomplishment and a huge privilege for us," said Songster. "We had some tough losses to teams we should have beat but we always bounced back. We're starting to make baby steps as a program and putting North Platte back on the map for softball."