The 18U North Platte Express fast-pitch team competed June 7-8 in the Thunder Down Under softball tournament in Colorado Springs, Colo. In game one of pool play, North Platte struggled against the Garden City Comets. The Garden City pitcher shut down North Platte batters, throwing a no-hitter en-route to a 9-0 win.
Pitcher Kaite Franzen took the loss for North Platte.
North Platte’s hitting woes continued in game two as they managed only two hits in a 9-1 loss to the Colorado Springs Thunder. Kate Schultze was the losing pitcher.
The North Platte bats came alive in game 3 against the Colorado Psyclones.
North Platte out-hit the Psyclones 10-9, with the big hit coming off Tracy Blake's bat. Blake hit a three-run home run to give North Platte the early lead.
North Platte eventually fell 8-7 in the bottom of the sixth inning as regulation time expired. Franzen and Schultze shared pitching duties.
In single-elimination tournament play, North Platte jumped out to an early lead over Azteca of Pueblo but went into the fifth inning trailing 5-6, facing elimination.
North Platte loaded the bases. Shayla Billings and Franzen singled and Blake reached on a walk, setting the stage for North Platte Catcher Mikenzi Wiseman. Wiseman hit a grand slam over the left-center field fence putting North Platte up 9-6, giving them the win, and advancing them to the next round.
In the second game, North Platte faced the Azteca Softball Club in a back-and-forth defensive battle.
As North Platte entered the top of the sixth, the score was tied 1-1. Toree Polsley reached base on a fielder's choice and scored on an RBI single by Wiseman, putting North Platte up 2-1. But A.S.C. scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to win the game as time expired.