The North Platte First National Bank Seniors began the season on Monday with two big wins, sweeping district rival Twin Cities 14-6 and 7-3 in Scottsbluff."I'm happy with the performance," Seniors coach Jason Pflughaupt said. "We got two wins which is what we set out to do. We showed a lot of hustle and enthusiasm. There are a few things to clean up but overall I'm happy with how we played."
In the first at bat of the season, Gabe Vyzourek led off the first game with a single up the middle for North Platte. Konner Sonneman and Braiden Ruffin then drew walks from Evan Hughes to load the bases. The first run of the game was scored when Vyzourek crossed home plate after a wild pitch by Hughes.
It then became 4-0 when Dominic Martinez hit one into the gap at right-center field for a bases clearing double.
Hughes, the projected ace for Twin Cities this year, didn't even get out of the first inning and he was replaced by A.J. Castillo-Powell after he walked Benny Brockmoller to load the bases yet again. But Castillo-Powell got out of the inning without any further damage and he held the First Nationals scoreless in the second.
But North Platte got going against him in the third inning, scoring eight runs to blow it open. The Nationals then put up two more runs in the fourth to make it 14-0.
Twin Cities tried to rally in the bottom of the fourth and fifth. The Zephyrs scored three runs in each inning but they fell one run short of extending the game and avoiding the run rule.
"Getting on top in the first game was big because it was the first game and no one knew what to expect," Pflughaupt said. "Getting that kind of a lead took a lot of pressure off us."
It was a different type of game in the nightcap. Like game one, the First Nationals went ahead in the first inning. Trev Chase hit a two-run single up the middle to give North Platte the lead.
But with solid pitching by Trent Richter, the Zephyrs stayed in it. They scored a run in the second and they answered back again after the Nationals got another run in the third.
With two outs in the top of the fifth, Austin Orr grounded a single into left off of Braden Lofink, who relieved Richter, to make it a two-run lead for North Platte again.
In the bottom half of the inning, Twin Cities pulled to within one again when Cody Snelling drew a one-out bases loaded walk from Caden Comer.
But Comer was relieved by Jayden Kruse immediately afterward. The First Nationals picked off the runner at third base and Kruse got a strikeout to turn the Zephyrs away.
North Platte got some insurance in the sixth by scoring three runs. The first of which came on a wild pitch by Paul Panduro, who had just come in for Lofink. Then Vyzourek reached on an error, scoring two more.
That was more than enough for Kruse who only allowed one batter to reach in the sixth and seventh and the Nationals left the Panhandle with the sweep.
"The second game was good too," Pflughaupt said. We had to compete and perform in pressure situations. Kruse looked good. He did what he was supposed to do, which was throw strikes. But so did Dominic (in game one) and Caden Comer."
The Seniors play their first home game on Thursday when they play another Area 7 rival, Lexington, for one game at Bill Wood Field.