“What I’m most proud of today, we found ourselves down six runs twice and twice we cut it to two,” North Platte coach Grant Tysdahl said. “That’s tough to do. It’s the second game of the day. It’s a colder type of day. They could have bowed their heads and said, ‘Alright. We can’t beat this team.’ They did not. They didn’t give up at all. Everybody supported everybody. We started to make plays for our pitcher and we found ourselves back in the game.”
Ultimately, the Panthers’ rallies fell short in a 14-9 loss to Braymer in the deciding game of the North Platte Invitational on Saturday, March 28 at Dean Park. North Platte finished second in a three team round robin that also included East Atchison.
In the deciding game, North Platte trailed 6-0 after two innings but cut the deficit to 6-4 in the third. Panthers starting pitcher Blake Toliver couldn’t keep the Bobcats off the scoreboard in the fourth to once again fall behind by six runs. All four of the runs in that frame were unearned after a pair of errors extended the inning.
North Platte scored four more in the fifth to close back within two but were never able to tie or take the lead.
Trevor Lamar and Toliver led off the fifth with back-to-back walks, and senior Triston Rickel was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Kyle Bledsoe earned a painful RBI on a second straight hit batter, and Toliver and Rickel scored after a bloop hit from fellow senior Austin Shanks fell in center field.
North Platte earned the chance at the title following an 18-0 drubbing of East Atchison in the first game of the day.
“The bats came alive,” Tysdahl said. “We got a ton of hits. We were putting the ball in play. That led to runs. It forced the other team to make plays. Second game, the bats continued to be alive, but we took a little step back on defense. We just need to put those aspects together, and we’ll be in the hunt to win some games.”
North Platte faced Lawson on Tuesday, March 31 in their KCI Conference opener, but the result was not available at The Citizen’s deadline. West Platte and North Platte were scheduled for a 4:30 p.m. first pitch on West Platte on Wednesday, April 1.