North Platte First National Bank Juniors coach Adam Sterup could not have asked for two better games from his team than the ones he got on Sunday when it defeated Gering and Ogallala by respective scores of 16-1 and 10-0.
"Anytime you get a win, it's awesome, especially (considering) how we came out against Ogallala yesterday," Sterup said.
The First Nationals (7-0) started the day playing Gering, who was coming off of beating Ogallala for the second time in the triangular tournament at Bill Wood Field.
Bryce Byrn and Braiden Ruffin drew walks from pitcher Dalton Scott to start off the bottom of the first inning. North Platte then scored its first run when Scott made a wild throw to third base in an attempt to pick off Byrn. Kade Wroot then scored Ruffin when he sacrificed himself after hitting a chopper to the left side.
After the second run came home for North Platte, there was a 10-minute delay. A wild pitch by Scott had bounced off of the dirt and struck home plate umpire Justin Kemper in the groin, which saved another run from scoring. Kemper tried to shake it off but he could not continue. Chris Krull, who had previously been working the grill, stepped in for Kemper.
When play resumed, Scott threw another wild pitch and it became 3-0. Scott was then pulled for Mike Gutherless. Against Gutherless, Trev Chase got an RBI single to finish the side for North Platte.
The Nationals scored another run in the second on a two-out RBI single by Wroot that made it 5-0. Then in the fourth inning, North Platte finished Gering off by scoring 11 more runs.
"We did basically everything right," Sterup said. "We played good defense. We threw strikes and we had good approaches at the plate."
North Platte didn't get off to such a fast start against Ogallala. But the First Nationals did get ahead, nonetheless.
They scored the first run in the second inning on a one-out sacrifice fly by Austin Orr. Then in the third, they started to pull away.
The second run came home after a wild pitch by Colby Rezac. Then, with two outs, Dylan Petersen doubled to left field on a hit and run with Kevin Hancock to make it 3-0.
Mitchell Sutherland relieved Rezac in the fourth inning. He threw a wild pitch that allowed another First National run to score and then after recovering the ball, catcher Orey Fricke airmailed the diminutive Sutherland at the plate to give another run to North Platte.
Later in the inning, Wroot brought in another run on a one-out line drive single to left and it was 6-0.
The Nationals scored four more runs in the fifth to put the run rule into effect and end the contest early.
"It was the same thing as the first game," Sterup said. "Bryce and Trev pounded the strike zone for us. Offensively, we got off to a slow start. But we adjusted our approaches and we started hitting the ball."