The North Platte First National Bank Juniors raised their winning streak to six games on Wednesday by sweeping a doubleheader with Twin Cities at Bill Wood Field.The Juniors (6-7) dominated the first game 10-0 before edging the Express from Scottsbluff 5-4 in the second game.
"That's just how baseball works, as soon as you get the last out, you get a fresh start," Juniors coach Andy Butler said. "Scottsbluff played well in the second game and we had to play well too."
North Platte wasted no time taking the lead in the first game with Miles Morrell hitting a two-run single into right field in the first inning.
The First Nationals scored another run in the second when Ben Vyzourek reached on an error. Then in the third, they chased Twin Cities pitcher Kreighton Dike from the game after Dolan Branch drew a walk to load the bases with no one out.
Against the new pitcher, Ricardo Rodriguez, Sam Malsbury reached on an error to score a run to begin what was a seven-run rally.
On the other end, Tyler Ferguson shut out the Express on the mound and North Platte won going away.
"It all started with Ty Ferguson," Butler said. "He threw strikes and we hit behind him. That's a good combination to have."
In the second game, however, the Nationals found themselves on the other end of an early deficit. Against pitcher Braden Stiffler, Twin Cities scored two runs in each of the first two innings.
But North Platte chipped away. With two outs in the third inning, Vyzourek scored a run with an infield single and then another run scored on a wild pitch by Nate Blackos.
In the fifth inning, the First Nationals pulled to within one when Vyzourek reached on error by the shortstop by Rodriguez.
The game was then tied in the next inning with a sacrifice fly ball to center by Branch.
Twin Cities got their first two batters on base in the top of the seventh inning. But they were both thrown out trying to steal bases by catcher Gus Kreber and Caleb Horne, who relieved Stiffler in the fifth, got a strikeout.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Carter Johnson got a base hit against Rodriguez, who came in for Blackos to start the inning. Vyzourek drew a walk and Jacob Swift was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up an inning-ending double play.
Rodriguez struck Morrell out to leave it all up to Ferguson. Ferguson grounded to the shortstop but on his birthday, Swift beat the toss to second base to score the winning run.
"It was a different game," Butler said. "Stiffler threw well and he struggled at times. But we battled back and that's been the M.O. of our team. We're a good seven-inning team, right now."