The North Platte First National Bank Seniors couldn't overcome an early deficit on Wednesday and they fell 8-6 to Hastings at Bill Wood Field."Same thing as last night (in the loss to Kearney), we put ourselves in position to win," Seniors coach Jason Pflughaupt said. "If we get a couple of ground balls and make some plays in the infield instead of some bad hops, the game's different and we come away winners."
Hastings (18-7) scored the first four runs of the game against North Platte pitcher Kade Wroot. They got a run in the first inning and three in the third. But in the bottom half of the third, the First Nationals (15-12) got something going.
They scored their first run when shortstop Connor Laux made a wild throw to get Dominic Martinez out after fielding a ball hit by Benny Brockmoller. Then another run came across on a passed ball by catcher Riley Eckhardt.
Hastings got one of those runs back, the following inning, with Grant Schmidt's two-out double to left field. But North Platte kept battling.
In the fifth, the Nationals pulled to within 5-3 on a sacrifice fly ball to right by Wroot and then they tied the game when Bryson Krull reached on a throwing error by Laux.
"Our team shows a lot of resilience," Pflughaupt said. "They don't give up and they fight and they don't ever think they're out of the game. Once they get down, they don't panic and they know what they have to do."
But Hastings regained the lead in the sixth with another double bySchmidt to make it 7-5.
In the bottom of the sixth, Tyler Brakenhoff relieved Hastings starter Vinny Schmidt. Martinez led off with a triple to right and he scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Gabe Vyzourek to make it a one-run game. Brockmoller and Braiden Ruffin then got on base but Wroot lined out to Laux for the inning-ending double play.
Wroot was relieved by Caden Comer in the seventh and Hastings got an insurance run against him with a sacrifice fly to left by Ashton Valentine.
Laux came in for Hastings in the bottom of the seventh and he closed out the First Nationals.
It was the second loss in as many meetings against Hastings for North Platte. But the series likely isn't over between the two teams and the games that truly matter will be at Districts in July.
"I told them don't get frustrated and keep your positive attitude and make sure you stay together as a team and make sure you get better every day so that District time, we're the team that wins and not the team that loses," Pflughaupt said.