The North Platte First Nationals Bank Juniors committed four untimely errors on Saturday and that caused their demise in an 8-3 loss to Lincoln Pius X in the first game of the state tournament.North Platte (23-32) will play Kearney in an elimination game on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.
"It's been the story of our season," Juniors coach Adam Sterup said. "We've had one bad inning that we just can't recover from. But otherwise, we play pretty well."
Lincoln Pius X scored two runs in the first inning off of pitcher Dominic Martinez. The first run scored when Colton Abendroth reached after second baseman Braiden Ruffin dropped the ball at first base. The second came with Alex Utrup's RBI two-out single up the middle.
Martinez held the Thunderbolts scoreless in the second but in the third, the First Nationals melted down. Pius scored four runs on three errors, which were all committed by catcher Marcus Silos. In the third, Silos made uncharacteristic throwing errors to second, third and home plate after a wild pitch.
Sterup said that the errors, which have plagued his team all season long, are caused by his team being too amped up.
"I think it was the case of trying to do too much," said Sterup. "Our inexperience comes out for us (in those situations). We're just throwing the ball and trying to make plays that aren't there."
North Platte scored its first run in the fourth on a sacrifice by Kevin Hancock. But the Bolts got that run back to keep the margin at six runs.
Both teams traded runs once more before the Nationals closed out the scoring with two outs in the seventh inning on Jayden Kruse's two-out single to left.
But Pius pitcher Tom Kelly, who relieved starter Michael Helman in the sixth, got the final out to send Pius into a second-day matchup with Millard South.
The First Nationals will play Kearney for a fourth time this season and they hope to beat their rivals from central Nebraska for the first time this year.
"It's unfortunate that once you get this far you have to play a team from your district but it's what we have to do," Sterup said. "Hopefully, we'll come out and turn the tables on them."