When looking at the won-loss records for the Platte County and Park Hill South high school baseball teams, the two squads seem comparable. The Pirates stand 6-5 after their 6-1 loss to the Panthers in the opening round of the Northland Classic Monday afternoon at Pirates Field in Platte City; the victory pushed South to 9-7 on the season. Upon closer inspection, however, the two teams are markedly different. For starters, Park Hill South’s roster is loaded with upperclassmen, many of who are returning starters from a team that won nine games in 2013. The list includes 11 seniors and seven juniors. Meanwhile, Platte County’s roster includes just four seniors and two of those players are pitchers only. In addition, the two teams appear to be streaking in different directions: South’s win was its fourth in six games, while Platte County, after a solid 4-1 start, lost for the fourth time in its last six games. Despite the difference, though, the coaches of both teams said their fortunes rely on the phase of the game that dictates success or failure for any baseball team: pitching. “When our pitchers throw strikes, we look pretty good,” Park Hill South coach Josh Walker said. “Lately, we have struggled to throw strikes, we get behind in the count and then we have to come in with good pitches to hit,” Platte County coach Rob Davenport said. South didn’t miss many of those good pitches in the first inning Monday against Pirates sophomore starter Jerod Thomas. The Panthers scored four times on three hits, a walk and a sacrifice fly. The big blow was Michael Scott’s bases-loaded double that drove in two runs. After that, the game turned into a low-scoring pitchers’ duel between the Pirates’ Thomas and reliever Josh Eastman and South senior right-hander Ryan Cockriel. Cockriel got the better of the Pirates, limiting them to just six hits and one run over six innings. Cockriel struck out five and walked just two and wiggled out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the sixth. South reliever Jacob Purl came on in the seventh and issued a leadoff walk before striking out the side to end the game. Platte County’s offense was led by senior outfielder Nabil Ahmad, who had three hits, including a double. Davenport said his team has been scuffling a bit lately and an injury to one of its top players, junior Topher Kilkenny hasn’t helped any. But he said it’s time for his young team to turn it back around down the stretch. “Yeah, we’re young, but at the same time, we’re not young anymore,” he said. “We get out pitching settled won and we’ll be OK. We have been hitting pretty well for the most part and we need to just keep working hard.” Walker said his team has the potential to make some noise down the stretch and also in the postseason. “We’ve been kind of hit and miss, but when we’re on, we’re as good as anybody,” he said. Both Platte County and Park Hill South will play in the Class 5 District 16 Tournament beginning May 17 at Staley High School; the other teams in the bracket are Park Hill, Staley, Oak Park and St. Joseph central. IN action last week, Platte County beat Grandview 12-1 and lost 9-8 at Winnetonka. In the Grandview win, Derick Holcomb hit a two-run home run; Justin Mitchell drove in three runs in the loss at Tonka. South beat NKC 4-2, Ruskin 11-1, lost to Lee’s Summit West 6-0, then split a doubleheader with Liberty last Saturday. In their 13-9 win, Michael Scott drove in four runs; in the Panthers’ 10-8 loss, Max Laney and John Chacon had two RBI each. Easton Fortuna had a combined five hits in the twin bill.