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No. 9 North Platte softball splits with Class B No. 2 Hastings
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No. 9 North Platte softball splits with Class B No. 2 Hastings

No. 9 North Platte softball splits with Class B No. 2 Hastings

North Platte sophomore Lauren Horne gets set to swing at a pitch she lined over the left field wall for a three-run home run in the opening game of a prep softball doubleheader with Hastings on Thursday.

The North Platte softball team handed Hastings its first loss of the season early Thursday evening.

The Bulldogs, ranked ninth in Class A, then fell just short of duplicating that feat a few hours later against the No. 2 in the Class B rankings.

North Platte (10-3) broke a tie game in the sixth game to win the opener 8-4.

The Tigers (9-1) then rebounded behind pitcher Faith Molina to win the second game 3-1.

North Platte travels to the McCook tournament this weekend.

“It’s fun playing good teams like (Hastings),” North Platte coach Jeff Barner said. “It gets you ready for the end of the year. That’s what you are going to see if you are going to do well in the postseason and make it to stat.”

North Platte 8,

Hastings 4

The Bulldogs scored four times with two outs in the sixth inning to snap a 4-4- tie.

Sydney Barner hit a grounder between first and second base that made its way into right field to score Shelby Yoshida and Emily Winkler.

“I was just looking for a ball that I could hit hard and get on base,” Coach Barner said. “They stay in every at bat and they are tough outs.”

Aspen Nelson, who had flown out in her previous two at-bats, then followed with a two-run home run to straightaway centerfield.

“Sydney and Aspen have been at the top of the lineup for a couple years now, they have the experience and do a good job up there,” Barner said.

It was the second Bulldogs home run of the game as Lauren Horne, hitting in the No. 9 spot, lined a three-run shot to left in the second inning to tie the game at 3-3.

North Platte shortstop Abby Orr scored on a fielders choice in the third to give the Bulldogs a one-run lead and the game remained that way until Hastings third baseman Kaelan Schultz hit towering drive to right-centerfield for a solo home run to tie the score.

Hastings threatened to take the lead in the sixth with one out and a runner on third.

The Bulldogs third baseman Ellie Hanson ranged to her left to field a grounder and threw home to get Hastings’ Emma Synek at the plate for the second out.

KK Laux then flew out to end the Tigers’ sixth and the Bulldogs broke out in the bottom half of the inning.

Hanson said she was determined to go for the play at home, even though for a moment it looked like she might concede the run and get the out at first.

“I just had to get turned around because on the (hit) my body had to go so far (to the left),” Hanson said. “I just had to get turned around and make (the throw).”

North Platte’s Tatum Montelongo got the complete-game win.

The Tigers scored three runs on three hits in the second inning but Montelongo settled down from there.

She allowed just four hits and a run the rest of the way.

Abby Orr went 2-for-2 to lead the Bulldogs and reached base four times as she also walked twice.

Hastings 3,

North Platte 1

Barner led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run — her fourth of the season — but the Bulldogs mustered little offense after that.

North Platte had three hits in the first inning then managed just two more the rest of the way against Molina.

The junior pitcher even started a 1-6-3 double play to end the Bulldogs’ sixth inning.

“She had good movement (on her pitches),” Barner said. “We hit (the ball) right at (Hastings players). We just couldn’t find the gaps.”

Barner’s shot to centerfield tied the score 1-1 after Schultz doubled home a run with two outs in the top half of the frame.

All three Hastings runs came with two outs in the inning.

Sophie Cerveny gave the Tigers the lead for good as she singled home two runs in the second inning.

Montelongo kept the Bulldogs in the game as she allowed just two hits over the final five innings.

Hanson went 2-for-3 and was the only Bulldogs player to have more than a hit in the loss.

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