NORTH PLATTE — The North Platte Community College softball team scored six runs in the sixth inning to rally past Southeast Community College on Sunday afternoon.
“We played our hearts out today,” coach Janelle Higgins said. “I am very proud of these young ladies for not giving up when it got tough.”
In the top of the first inning, the Knights had to work out of a jam as Southeast put their first two batters on base. Nevaeh Ramirez entered the pitcher’s circle and calmly struck out the next three batters. In the bottom half of the frame, Zoey Bredleau-Beehler put the Knights on the board as she connected on a 2-2 pitch and sent it over the fence to give North Platte a 1-0 lead.
Southeast responded in the top of the second inning with a three-run shot to left field to take the lead as the momentum began to switch in the favor of the Storm. North Platte cut into the two-run deficit in the bottom of the inning, as a single by Morganne Brown gave the Knights an early baserunner. Kirsten Greenwalt stepped to the plate and doubled to center field on a 1-0 count to put two Knights in scoring position with no one down.
Jenny Singer hit a fly ball to score Brown from third to cut the deficit back to one at 3-2.
In the top of the third inning, the Storm added two more runs to expand their lead to 5-2. NPCC’s Essence McRae doubled to center field to bring Madisyn Hamar around from first and make the score 5-3.
The Storm added one more run in the top of the fourth inning to push their lead back to three.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Knights offense came alive with a six-run rally to reclaim the lead. Singer stepped into the box and singled to right field and advanced Greenwalt to second. Jayden Horner loaded the bases for the Knights on a catcher’s interference call.
On a 2-2 count, Young hit into a fielder’s choice which scored Greenwalt from third. The momentum began to shift, as Wheeling singled to left field and scored Singer and Horner to tie the game at 6-6.
Hamar continued the offensive attack by loading the bases once again on an error by the Southeast first baseman. Wheeling advanced the final sixty feet on an error in the Knights next at bat, and a McRae double brought Hamar and Bredleau-Beehler around to score. Southeast finally recorded the final out of the inning, but the damage had been done and a six-run sixth inning propelled the Knights to victory in a winner take all third game.
Ramirez started in the circle and pitched 3¤ innings and allowed five earned runs on eight hits and six strikeouts. Kyleigh Sullivan came on in relief and pitched 3ª innings and only allowed one earned run on no hits and four strikeouts.
North Platte (13-26) advances to the Region IX Championship against Central Community College. First pitch of the doubleheader will take place on Saturday, May 8 at 12 p.m. at the Raider Softball Complex in Columbus.