One bad inning forced the Five Points Bank juniors to settle for a split on Saturday’s opening day of the Grand Island/Hastings tournament.
In the final game of the day at Ryder Park, Papillion-La Vista South scored six runs in the top of the fourth to claim a 7-4 victory.
Five Points (17-12) committed three errors and hit three batters in that rough frame.
“That’s kind of been our MO all that, that one big inning is going to come back and bite us,” Five Points coach Josh Redman said. “That’s the big thing for the next two weeks that we just talked about.
“We did part of it tonight. We had the big inning, we minimized it and the next inning we come back and scored two. That keeps us in the game. Two or three weeks ago, that big inning would have happened and we would have been done.”
Five Points did strike for two runs in the bottom of the fourth on Jake Zeckser’s double to get within 7-4. But Papio South forced the hosts to strand two runners in each of the last two innings.
To open the day, Five Points used 13 hits to defeat Bennington 7-5.
Redman was especially encouraged by his team’s offense, which finished with 21 hits over the two games.
“That’s the pleasant surprise,” he said. “We were coming out and swinging this weekend, which is always a good thing. Our goal is to be playing our best baseball possible in two weeks for districts.
“I thought our plate approach over the last two weeks has drastically improved. That puts us in plus territory in counts, and we’ve taken advantage of that.”
Five Points stranded six runners over the first four innings and trailed 2-0.
But the hits finally started producing runs in the fifth when Grand Island grabbed a 5-2 lead.
Mike Buhrman had a two-run single while Jacob Nesvara and Alex Hinken also drove in runs.
Sam Hartman and Buhrman each had three hits to lead Five Points at the plate.
Jonny Stoltenberg earned the win by allowing two runs on two hits over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked four.
Bennington tried to rally with three runs in the top of the seventh but saw Jackson Hansen record a strikeout with the bases loaded to end the game.
Redman is looking for a quick turnaround for Five Points on Sunday after the loss to Papillion-La Vista South.
“I want to see us bounce back,” he said. “We have a tough Millard South opponent coming in at 9 a.m. We’ve got (Tycen) Nelson going against Millard South. We want to get the guys behind him and see how it goes.”
Five Points will wrap up tournament play at 5 p.m. against Beatrice.