FAIRBURY -- The Beatrice Neapco Juniors rallied for three runs in the seventh inning to tie top-seeded Central City, but a ground rule double in the bottom of the seventh ended their season.
Beatrice fell to Central City 5-4 Monday night in the B4 Area Tournament in Fairbury. The loss eliminated Beatrice. Central City advanced to Tuesday's championship game where they would have to be beaten twice.
Things were looking dire for Beatrice late as they trailed Central City 4-1 entering the seventh inning.
Brody Nelson gave Neapco hope by leading off the inning with a single. After an out was recorded, Devin Smith was hit by a pitch and the runners advanced to second and third on an error.
Adam Erickson's RBI single made it 4-2 and Zane Hoffman's RBI single got Beatrice to within one run at 4-3.
Another out was recorded and Beatrice's season looked to be over when Matt Jobman hit a slow ground ball to shortstop, but the throw to first base was errant, allowing the tying run to score.
Beatrice had the go-ahead run on at third base, but he was left stranded.
Central City needed just one run in the bottom of the seventh for the win. Their leadoff hitter reached on a walk and then stole second base.
The next Central City hitter flew out to centerfield for the first out, but the hitter after that was able to launch a ball over the centerfielder's head, which bounced over the fence for a ground rule double, ending the game.
Earlier on, the game was a story of missed opportunities for Neapco. In the first inning, Beatrice had the bases loaded with one out, but were unable to get any runs.
In the second inning, Eli Magnall led off with a double and was at third base with one out, but was left stranded after a leaping catch by the Central City second baseman.
Central City took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second and tacked on another run in the third inning to make it 2-0.
In the fourth inning, Beatrice loaded the bases with nobody out after Magnall was hit by a pitch and Zane Hoffman and Joe Wallman both walked. Jobman's walk brought in a run to make it 2-1, but a fielder's choice at home and a double play ended the Beatrice threat with just one run scoring.
Central City's biggest inning came in the fourth when four walks, a wild pitch, a passed ball and a sacrifice fly allowed two runs to score, making it 4-1.
Beatrice again loaded the bases with nobody out in the fifth inning, but three straight outs were recorded without any runs scoring.
Neither team scored in the sixth inning, setting up the dramatic seventh inning.
Qwin Zabokrtsky pitched the entire game for Beatrice, giving up five runs (four earned) on four hits while striking out four and walking five. He threw a total of 103 pitches.
Beatrice had eight hits in the game, two each from Nelson and Zimmerman. Magnall had a double while Adam Erickson, Zane Hoffman and Matt Jobman had a single each.
Beatrice's season comes to an end after posting a 15-12 record.