Late homer sinks Pirates, ends season

Platte County was in control of its Class 5 District 16 quarterfinal contest against Oak Park for six innings last Saturday at Staley High School. But the Pirates saw the game slip from their grasp in the tell-tale seventh. Oak Park senior catcher David Paffenroth belted a three-run homer in the top of the frame off of senior reliever Derrick Holcomb, lifting the Northmen to a 5-3 lead. Platte County went quietly in the bottom of the seventh and the Pirates saw their season end with an 11-11 record. Platte County coach Rob Davenport said his team played well, but lamented a few missed opportunities on offense. “We had a few chances to tack on some more runs, but they made some plays on defense,” said Davenport, who saw two Pirates get thrown out at the plate. “We forced the issue and they made plays and stuck around and got the big hit.” Platte County took control of the game with a three-run bottom of the second, fueled by Matt Mefford’s two-out, two-run double. The Pirates finished with seven hits, including two from senior Nic Blaha. Junior starting pitcher Josh Eastman turned in a solid five-plus innings of work, before giving way to Holcomb with two outs in the top of the sixth. Holcomb retired the side and the Pirates clung to a 3-2 lead heading to the fateful seventh. “Josh’s pitch count was getting up there,” Davenport said. “We had a few options, but thought Derrick was the guy in that spot.” Davenport said the season was a good one overall. “We got to .500 for the first time in four years, so that’s good,” he said. “I was proud of our guys for competing all season.”