Amid confusing reports for second game result, ruling on the field is Pinnacle Bank 7-0 win
LEXINGTON – Oh, what a night! Two losses for Lexington were suddenly shifted to a 1-1 night after an eventful evening on the Legion field in Lexington. The Pinnacle Bank boys dropped their first game to the First Nationals, 0-16, and despite North Platte Scoring 10 runs over zero for Lexington, Pinnacle Bank was awarded a forfeit win for the second game, 7-0.
First, we’ll talk some baseball:
North Platte took an early lead in the first game with Pinnacle Bank, putting three unanswered runs on the board in the first inning and a fourth run in the top of the fourth inning. They extended their lead to seven runs in the top of the fifth and closed the game with nine runs in the top of the sixth. Lexington gained just two hits in the game, a single by Anthony Rodriguez and a single by Vinny Leibert.
From the mound, Vinny Leibert led the Pinnacle Bank boys, playing five innings. Leibert threw 52 strikes on 90 pitches, allowing seven runs and striking out four batters. Collectively, the team recorded six errors in the first game.
“In the first five innings we had three errors that resulted in four runs,” Lexington head coach Vince Leibert said of the first game. “However, we had a pitcher that only gave up one hit in five innings. In short, we had a pitcher that probably pitched the best game of our season and it didn’t pay off because we made some mental mistakes.”
The First Nationals drove up a lead with five unanswered runs in the first inning of the second game. They extended their lead another three runs in the top of the third and two runs in the top of the fourth. With a 10 run lead and two outs, Tate Janas hit a ground ball toward left field. Lexington fielded the ball and the throw to first was called as an out by the field official.
The play signaled the official end to the game, halfway through the fourth inning.
As Janas was called out the First Nationals’ first base coach, Kade Wroot, vocalized his disagreement with the field official. The North Platte coaching staff pressed the point with the home plate umpire and was ejected from the game. This led to protests from the First Nationals’ dugout, resulting in a bench ejection.
As per Legion Baseball rules, a game must be played to at least five innings before it can be considered a game played. In the case of a forfeit, the opposing team is awarded a 7-0 win. As the First Nationals were ejected prior to the fifth inning, the game was incomplete and the officials’ ruling on the field was a 7-0 win for Pinnacle Bank.
While details are unclear, at least one fan was ejected from the first game after the fifth pitch of the game for a disagreement with the home plate umpire. A fan was ejected from the game in the first inning of the second game for a disagreement with officials involving giving a player a warning when he failed to slide into a contested home plate.
As for officials, the Western Nebraska Umpires Association declined for comment, due to investigation of the event and deferred to the local American Legion representative, Anthony McCreery. McCreery declined to comment as the investigation is ongoing.
In collaboration, North Platte Telegraph staff reached out to the First Nationals’ coaches who also declined to comment, focusing on their games with Kearney the following day. The First Nationals lost their first game to Kearney, 12-4, and picked up a 9-2 win in their second game.
Lexington’s head coach declined to comment on the basis that he and his players were not involved with the situation, though he did have some words of pride for the players and parents present at the game.
“Sometimes we take for granted that we have good kids and a relatively classy group of players and fans,” Leibert said. “I’d like to thank the supportive parents and players for respecting the game and doing things right. Stay classy.”
Lexington went on to play a doubleheader with Broken Bow on Thursday. The Pinnacle Bank baseball boys lost their first game, 3-11, before falling in the second game, 1-11.
Lexington will enjoy a short break from games over the weekend but will host Grand Island at the Optimist Sports Complex on Monday, July 27. The doubleheader with Grand Island will begin at 5 p.m.