Every time it looked like Levi Nekuda was in trouble on Wednesday night, the North Platte Seniors pitcher found a way to escape unscathed.With the help of Nekuda's efforts, North Platte First National Bank defeated Lexington 9-0 at Bill Wood Field.
"Levi did a pretty good job for us," Seniors coach Rick Ostergard said. "He struggled through some things but he pitched through adversity."
North Platte (5-5) scored its first run in the second inning when Marcus Silos grounded into fielder's choice.
But it wasn't until the third inning that the First Nationals started to get going. Jack Kenny led off with a double off of pitcher Logan Farrel. Darian Allberry then brought him home with a single into left field.
The third run was scored when Alex Harms was hit by Farrel with the bases loaded. Silos then scored the last run of the inning with a one-out sacrifice fly ball to center.
In the fourth inning, the first two runners reached base for North Platte and that spelled the end for Farrel. He was relieved by Seth Cuderland. Allberry came through again with a two-run single up the middle. Then Ty Brockmoller hit a one-out sacrifice fly to left that made it 7-0.
Two more runs came across in the fourth after RBI singles by Silos and Jace Barker.
Nekuda then got the Lexington lineup out in order to put the eight-run rule after five innings into effect and end the game early.
Ostergard said that he could have used the extra two and a half innings. With 15 players on the Seniors, the most since he became coach three years ago, he has to worry more about distributing playing time among his roster. During the third and fourth innings, Devan Hovden warmed up in the bullpen as Nekuda was battling the Lexington lineup with runners on base.
"It's a win," Ostergard said. "It would have been nice to get some runs for Levi earlier and get some more players into the game."
In the Juniors game that preceded the Seniors game, North Platte crushed Lexington 26-2 to stay undefeated on the season at 8-0. It's the best start for the Juniors since 2006.