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Kearney hands Juniors first lossTell North Platte what you think
Photo by James Parrish
North Platte's Kevin Hancock throws a pitch in the second inning.
Photo by James Parrish
Braiden Ruffin looks for a stolen base opportunity.

The North Platte First National Bank Juniors gave up seven runs in the second inning against Kearney on Tuesday and they never recovered. They lost a 14-9 slugfest at Bill Wood Field.

The Juniors used four pitchers (Kevin Hancock, Caden Comer, Kade Wroot and Peyton Vieyra) in what was their first loss of the season. Their coach Adam Sterup said that their inability to control the Kearney lineup is what doomed his team.

"Kearney's a good team but we definitely gave up a good opportunity," he said. "You can't give a team like that many runs and expect to win."

North Platte (10-1) jumped out ahead by scoring three runs off of pitcher Tyler Mestl in the first inning. But after holding Kearney scoreless in the first inning, Nationals starter Kevin Hancock melted down.

The first run for Kearney came when Hancock walked Ben Dinkel with the bases loaded and no one out. Then Alex Harris singled to center field scoring another run. Mestl then drew another bases loaded walk to tie the game.

Caden Comer then relieved Hancock and Kearney scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by Comer. It became 5-3 when Brady Holtmeier reached on an error by second baseman Gabe Vyzourek.

The last two runs for Kearney in the inning were scored when Andrew Wegner was walked with the bases loaded and when Creighton Hamik sacrificed himself with a ground ball to first baseman Brendan Folk.

"For the game, we outhit them," Sterup said. "The only negative offensively is that we left too many runners on base. But we definitely played well enough offensively to win."

The First Nationals didn't go away quietly. They scored three runs on doubles by Braiden Ruffin and Kade Wroot. But North Platte just couldn't stop Kearney, who responded by scoring four more runs.

The closest North Platte got was when Folk got an RBI infield single that brought the First Nationals to within 12-9 in the sixth inning. But Kearney scored two more in the seventh to put some distance between themselves and North Platte.

The Nationals were held scoreless in the bottom of the seventh and the game which lasted just over three hours was finally over.

"Our pitchers lacked consistency throwing strikes," Sterup said.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 6/4/2014
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