The North Platte First National Bank Juniors scored at least two runs in each inning on Saturday to eliminate Lexington from the district tournament with an 11-1 victory at Bill Wood Field.North Platte (19-21) will play another elimination game on Sunday when they take on Twin Cities at 4:30 p.m.
"We put up 11 runs on seven hits, which is a little backwards in baseball but I thought we had great approaches," Juniors coach Andy Butler said. "Lexington had trouble throwing strikes and we didn't let that get in the way of our approaches."
Draake Taylor led off the game for Lexington with a single and he scored when Jaxon Fagot sacrificed himself.
But the First Nationals established themselves in the bottom of the first inning. They tied the game when Lexington third baseman Eli Young mishandled a ball hit by Ben Vyzourek. Then after Caleb Horne drew a walk from Luis Galvan to load the bases, Gus Kreber was beaned to force in a run. North Platte then added to the lead when Jacob Swift got a bloop single just over the middle infield and then it became 4-1 when Miles Morrell hit a sacrifice fly ball to center field.
The Nationals scored two runs in the second on a line drive to left by Horne. The third inning went the same way with North Platte scoring two more after pitcher Avery Munson held Lexington scoreless in the top half of the inning.
In the fourth, North Platte let several of its bench players get some action. Pinch hitter Caden Messersmith got an RBI single to right to make it 9-1. Galvan was then relieved by Fagot and he walked Jacob Tobey and Mason Tilford, who were also pinch hitters, with the bases loaded to score two more to make it 11-1.
Munson was relieved by Vyzourek in the fifth, who closed out the game by only allowing one baserunner in the inning and the game ended early via the run rule.
"Avery threw well," Butler said. "He struggled a little bit early but he started to find his groove and after that, we controlled the game."
The First Nationals will now play Twin Cities, whom they swept in a doubleheader at Bill Wood Field earlier in the season. But that doesn't matter tomorrow.
"We played Scottsbluff twice, one was a close game and the other was kind of out of hand," Butler said. "But it's not going to be an easy game and we're going to have to bring our A-game."