The North Platte First Nationals juniors found themselves clinging to a one-run lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning.
But, the nine unanswered runs that followed in the fourth and fifth innings helped solidify an early, 11-1 run-rule victory against McCook at Bill Wood Field on Friday.
"I thought we played great," First Nationals head coach Jace Barker said. "(McCook’s) first pitcher came out and threw pretty decent for the first few innings, but once we figured him out we started getting some hits, walks and the runs came."
North Platte (7-1) opened the game relying on small ball, picking their spots with grounders and stealing bases to advance and force McCook into errors, which led to an early 2-1 lead through three innings.
Then the bottom of the fourth inning rolled around.
After wearing down McCook starter Cameron Werkmeister through three innings and 78 pitches, the First Nationals pounced at the plate, racking seven hits and nine RBI to end the game.
Jeremiah Seamann, Derrick Kuhlmann and Will Coe led the way for North Platte with two hits apiece, combining for eight of the team’s nine RBI during that two-inning stretch.
North Platte’s stingy defense also played a crucial role in the blowout win, forfeiting little room for McCook to score.
Bryce Butterfield pitched for North Platte, allowing just two hits and striking out nine batters through five innings.
"We played stellar without concerns on that end," Barker said. "I thought Butterfield pitched pretty well and we took advantage of that."
The win now sets the juniors on a three-game winning streak heading into Saturday’s home game against Lincoln Northeast.