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Panthers end Golden Eagles' season in districts

May 13—North Platte baseball is headed to the district championship for the second consecutive season after defeating Bishop LeBlond 18-8 on Monday.

Rainfall was persistent the entire contest out in Plattsburg for the Class 2 District 15 matchup between the two programs vastly different in records, as LeBlond had six wins to its name and North Platte had 17. But the six-win Golden Eagles would not be intimidated early on by the one-seeded Panthers.

Down 3-1 in the top of the second, LeBlond was able to tie the game at three by scoring two runs by having two batters walk with the bases loaded. Later in the inning, junior Jacob Winkelbauer scored two runs on a two-RBI single to take the lead back 5-3 as rain continued to fall.

North Platte would eventually find itself down 7-3 in the bottom of the third inning, and would need an answer. Despite the rainfall affecting pace of the game and ability to make throws with velocity and accuracy, the Panthers answered the call when they needed to in a big way by tying the game at 7 after the third inning, and eventually out-scoring LeBlond 11-1 after that to end the game in six innings. North Platte head coach Daniel Atkinson credited LeBlond for its performance by calling them a good baseball team, and saying it gave the Panthers its best punch.

"We talk about overcoming adversity and when baseball happens, weather the storm and have each other's back. They didn't let the moment get too big and I'm really proud of our guys of overcoming some of the adversity in the weather," Atkinson said.

On the doorstep of a district championship, adding another trophy to the trophy case would add to the already successful year the school has had in Dearborn. Senior Colton Kirkham, who finished the game on the mound for the Panthers on Monday, knows what's at stake on Wednesday night when they play in the Class 2 District 15 championship game.

"It kind of sparked through football. We had a strong football season this year. Carrying it over to baseball, we're just super hungry for it and excited because we got the community behind us," Kirkham said.

Kirkham was the quarterback for the North Platte football team that placed second in the state in Class 1 this past season.

Jacob Meikel can be reached at jacob.meikel@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @NPNowMeikel.