There’s an old saying that goes “Nothing worth having ever comes easy.” North Platte’s Lady Bulldogs understand that very well.
The Lady Bulldogs suffered a 7-0 defeat to Bellevue West in a winner’s bracket game of the A-7 District Softball Tournament on Thursday. The loss means North Platte must win three games today if the Lady Bulldogs are going to claim a berth in the State Softball Tournament.
“I told the girls someone has to come from the loser’s bracket to the championship,” said North Platte head coach BJ Songster. “It might as well be us.”
North Platte got two girls on to lead off the bottom of the first inning, but the Lady Bulldogs didn’t score and the Thunderbirds were never threatened the rest of the way.
“We couldn’t get our bats going,” Songster said. “For whatever reason, we couldn’t get a hit.
“Our pitching was solid and our defense was solid, we just couldn’t get the bats going.”
Bellevue West pitcher Linzy Heim held North Platte scoreless for the second game this season. In two starts against North Platte, Heim has thrown 14 scoreless innings.
The Thunderbirds went after North Platte on the base paths. Often Bellevue West coach Casie Onken would send runners immediately after they reached base. The result often was scoring for the Thunderbirds.
“They were very aggressive right off the bat,” Songster said.
Bellevue West took a 1-0 lead in the first, increased the margin to 3-0 in the third, went up 6-0 in the fifth and used a home run by Heim to go up 7-0 in the seventh.
North Platte opened the day with a 3-2 win over Kearney.
“Against Kearney, we really didn’t hit the ball well, either,” Songster said. “We had great defense and good pitching, but we’ve struggled to hit in each of the first two games.
“Of course, the weather doesn’t help, but the other teams are playing in the same weather.”
Omaha Central, which lost to Bellevue West 8-1 in the first game, eliminated Kearney with a 9-0 win over the Lady Bearcats.
“I think we’ll get past Omaha Central,” Songster said. “I think we’re going to be aggressive and get after Bellevue West.
“We have to play and win the first one, but I think we got something for West.”
Today’s first game at Dowhower Softball Complex begins at 10 a.m. with North Platte playing Omaha Central. The winner of that game will play Bellevue West at noon and again at 2 p.m. if needed. Bellevue West must lose twice on Friday for the loser’s bracket team to clinch the state berth.
“We have to regroup,” Songster said. “We have to come back, beat Central and play our hearts out.
“That’s the only way we can reach the state tournament.”