The North Platte Bulldogs came down for a doubleheader against the Scottsbluff Bearcats with the Bulldogs winning both games, dropping the Bearcats down to a 17-4 record.
The first game was all Bulldogs as North Platte won 11-0. The game was dominated by North Platte with a major momentum swing from three home runs, two by Tatum Montelongo, and one from Kaitlyn Aden.
The game was littered with mistakes on the Bearcats part, as many of the Bulldogs scoring runs were set up by walks.
“It starts with good pitching. Our pitchers have done good overall and they’re still growing, but our pitching has to get more consistent. When it does, we will be in those games. We had 20 walks over the two games and when you walk, them they score. But the pitchers know what they have to do,” Scottsbluff head coach Daniel Fox said.
The second game was more of the same with a 9-1 Bulldog victory. Even though the Bearcats managed to get on the board, they didn't score past the first inning and from there, the Bulldogs slowly pulled away.
Once again, the Bulldogs got a scoring boost from Montelongo and Aden home runs.
Throughout both games, the Bearcats failed to match both the play on field from the Bulldogs, and the energy in the dugouts from North Platte as well.
“You can’t come out and give up that many walks and put pressure on the defense. If they’re hitting the ball, that’s different. We don’t care if they’re hitting the ball, we just want to make sure we get out there and throw strikes, it will change,” Fox said. “If we pitch better, we will get more energy with the defense playing behind them and not giving them any free passes.”
One major plus for the Bulldogs was their pitching, as they kept Montelongo in for both games. She managed to keep the Bearcats best batters at bay throughout both.
“(Montelongo) is one of the better pitchers in the state, but it took us a while to get going. I think if our energy was better and we didn’t fall behind early, we could have done things different,” Fox said. “We didn’t put bunts down well, and we’ve seen good pitching. She’s a good pitcher, not going to take anything away from her, but we have to get out there and attack the ball better.”
Despite facing top level pitching on an overall down day for the team, Fox isn’t going to write this doubleheader off as a matter of circumstance.
“We have to improve; we can’t look at this and be happy with it,’ he said. “If you’re happy with this, you’re not going to grow. You need to have failure to grow and sometimes, a little bit of failure is okay.”