After splitting a pair of double headers last weekend, the WESTCO Zephyrs senior legion baseball team put back-to-back solid outings together on Wednesday afternoon at Cleveland Field against North Platte.
The Zephyrs cruised early on in the first game to earn an 11-3 win before holding off North Platte late in the night cap to win 8-6. With the two wins, WESTCO is now 12-4 on the season.
Head coach Jeremiah Luber said he challenged the Zephyrs to put together two clean games together against North Platte.
“That was our big challenge today, we took it to them in game one and I challenged the guys to come out with that same level of focus and intensity,” Luber said. “We got into a little bit of a lull, but fought back and took care of business in the seventh inning and that was good to see.”
The Zephyrs will not play at home for some time, as they will play 11 straight road games over the next 10 days. Their next home game is June 20 against the Buckley Bombers.
Luber said it was good to earn the two double-header wins before heading into a long stretch of road games.
“We really feel that if we can continue to play clean baseball that we’ll be just fine,” Luber said. “We’re playing 11 road games in a little over a week, so it will be a challenge mentally for the guys, but we feel like if we continue to play at our level, we’ll be good at the end.”
In the first contest against North Platte, the Zephyrs put up five runs in the first inning to jump ahead. After Jack Jones led off with a single, Creighton Dike drove him in on a triple to center field. Paul Panduro followed Dike with another triple to center. Later in the inning, Harold Baez hit a sacrifice fly to score Panduro. K.J. Hartline earned a RBI after being hit by a pitch and Jerrett Richter hit another sac fly to score the fifth run of the inning.
WESTCO added two more runs in the second and another in third to give themselves an 8-0 lead. North Platte scored three runs in the top half of the fifth inning that temporarily delayed the eight-run rule, but the Zephyrs closed the game when Jones hit a fly ball to center that scored two, and Dike drove him in with a ground ball.
Both Dike and Jones finished with two hits and two runs scored. On the hill, Panduro pitched a five-inning complete game, allowing just three earned runs on two hits with nine strikeouts.
The second contest was much more competitive. North Platte held a 4-1 lead after the first 2 1/2 innings, but WESTCO took the momentum with a seven-run third inning.
WESCTO loaded the bases after a series of two singles and a hit batter. Izaiah Torrez earned a walk to bring in a run. Then Tate Carson scored on a wild pitch and Harold Baez came across home after a throwing error from the North Platte catcher to tie the game at 4-4. WESTCO took its first lead when Hunter McCollum singled into center to score Torrez and Jerald Yberra. In his second at bat of the inning, Panduro doubled to center, scoring Hartline and McCollum.
North Platte cut the lead down in the sixth when Andrew Lindemeir hit a double to score Jacob Tobey. But on the game’s final play, Jacob Swift hit a single to left field, scoring one but a heads-up defensive play from Yberra and Dike caught Dolan Branch out at home to end the game.
Panduro went 3-for-4 at the plate with two doubles and two RBI. McCollum added a pair of RBI on two singles. Carson also added a two-hit game for the Zephyrs.
Carson handled the starting duties on the hill, dealing six innings, allowing four earned runs on eight hits with two punch outs. Yberra closed the seventh, allowing one run on two hits with two strikeouts.
North Platte 000 03x x — 3 2 5
WESTCO 521 03x x — 11 8 0
WP — Paul Panduro
LP — Eli Cox
2B — North Platte (Tyler Ferguson).
3B — WESTCO (Creighton Dike, Paul Panduro).
North Platte 121 001 1 — 6 10 1
WESTCO 107 000 0 — 8 9 1
WP — Tate Carson
LP — Avery Munson
SP — Jerald Yberra
2B — North Platte (Gus Kreber, Miles Morrell, Andrew Lindemeir). WESTCO (Paul Panduro 2).