SOFTBALL ROUNDUP: Platte County tops Park Hill for tourney title

Jessie Hoover calmly collected herself after fielding a ground ball with two outs in the top of the seventh inning Saturday at Platte Ridge Park. Platte County’s senior shortstop had already bobbled a few balls hit her way during the day-long Platte County Invitational. With the bases loaded and the Pirates clinging to a lead against Park Hill in the tournament’s championship game, Hoover’s final throw hit the target to record the final out of a 3-1 victory. “The bases were loaded so it was really nerve-racking,” Hoover said. “It was kind of a do-or-die play. Whenever I made the out, it was relieving. I was nervous, but I knew we were going to have (the championship).” Hoover scored the championship’s first run in the bottom of the first inning after a two-out single. She then stole second and advanced to third on the catcher’s throwing error in a failed attempt to nab the speedy runner. Platte County third baseman Ashley Hopper eventually walked and stole second with the Park Hill defense thinking pitcher Veronique Johnson had recorded a strikeout on a 3-2 pitch. Hoover also came into score on the play in what amounted to a double steal when the Trojans believed the inning was over. Park Hill coach Stuart Sullinger questioned the call and promptly earned an ejection. “I’m disappointed in myself,” Sullinger said. “I’ve got to be better than that. I’ve had (that umpire) a lot, and I know who he is and how he is. I also know who I am and how I am. He doesn’t like to hear anything, I’ve just got to be quiet and move on. I let a little something get to me and that’s on me.” Platte County’s Lexi Hanson singled on a flare to right field, a hit that froze pinch-runner Brittany Whitt at second. She eventually raced to third when the ball fell in front of the defender, and a high throw back to the infield resulted in an error, allowing her to score. Platte County added an insurance run in the third inning on a Alexis Ray RBI single. Then the Pirates’ bats went quiet with runners on base. “All day, really, we put the ball in play, and we ran the bases well,” Pirates coach Rob Davenport said. “Our baserunning was outstanding today. It really helps put pressure on the defense and helped us to win.” Platte County improved to 14-3 with the tournament championship and a win Monday against Grandview. The Pirates claimed their home invite title for the third time in four years with 2013 the lone exception in that span. “It feels really good because we fell short last year,” Hanson said. “It gave us a lot of motivation going into the day. We had a really solid week. Confidence is really big for us, just bringing that into the rest of the season coming together as a team and always playing up to the competition.” Park Hill advanced to the championship game with wins against Oak Park, Winnetonka and Staley in the pool play portion of the tournament. The Trojans, winners of eight of their last 11 moved the season record back over .500 — 9-8 – after a 1-5 start. “This is a great group of kids to be around,” Sullinger said. “I love that they feel good about what they did, but they’re not satisfied with the outcome. We put a lot of people in different spots. That’s what this tournament is great about.” The championship matchup was a rematch of former district foes as Platte County dropped to Class 3 in softball for the next two year cycle. North Platte 12, Mid-Buchanan 6 Chelsi Sams threw a three-hitter in a win against Mid-Buchanan on Sept. 22. Unfortunately two walks, a hit by pitch and two errors in the fourth inning allowed the Dragons to plate four runs. Kaycee Hodgson connected on a three-run blast and collected three walks for North Platte in the KCI Conference tilt. The Panthers improved to 15-0 on the season and 3-0 in conference play. Bishop LeBlond 5, West Platte 0 Abby Summers’ 12 strikeouts and 1-for-3 day at the plate were not enough to overcome the Golden Eagles on Sept. 22 at Weston, Mo. LeBlond scored one run in the third on a fielder’s choice before two runs crossed in the fourth and added two insurance tallies in the top of the seventh to put the game away. West Platte drops to 12-3 on the season, all three losses have came to potential Class 2 District 16 foes, twice to North Platte and LeBlond. Platte County 15, Grandview 0 The Pirates continued their hot streak Sept. 22 with a win against Grandview. The Pirates plated 12 runs in the the third to end it via the run rule. Hoover’s 3-for-3 day with three RBIs helped seal the win. Linley Weicken picked up the win, needing only 39 pitches to complete the, three-hit shutout. Mid-Missouri Invitational North Platte claimed the Mid-Missouri Invitational Championship Saturday at Chilicothe, Mo. The Panthers won all four games on the day, allowing no eared runs — two unearned. They advanced out of pool play with a perfect record and beat Chillicothe 7-1 in a semifinal and Carrollton 7-0 in the championship.