Park Hill South softball's historical run ends in state sectional

Park Hill South’s frenzied run at the end of the season nearly carried into the second round of the playoffs. Instead, Liberty North scored five times in the final two innings of Oct. 15’s Class 4 sectional matchup at Park Hill South High School in Riverside, Mo., to advance with a 6-2 victory. Park Hill South sophomore pitcher Olivia Kinsey struck out 13 but gave up an RBI double to Kelsey Runge in the top of the sixth inning, which tied the score at 2-2.

Liberty North added three more extra-base hits against Kinsey in the seventh, and Runge’s RBI triple after the Panthers removed their star pitcher punctuated the big inning.

Park Hill South finished at 18-9 and District 16 champions, winning eight of their final nine in the regular season before beating St. Joseph Central and Staley in the district tournament to reach the playoffs for the first time in school history. Liberty North’s victory marked the first playoff win in its program’s short history.

After five innings, Park Hill South appeared ready to extend the history.

Liberty North managed only three hits and struck out 10 times to that point. A throwing error in the third inning led to both Panthers’ runs and gave them a 2-1 advantage. Park Hill South’s Kaitlyn Easton led off the third with a double, but the runs were both manufactured without another hit.

Liberty North mustered more than enough offense in the lineups third time around against Kinsey. Out of her clean-up spot in the lineup, Runge went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and finished a home run shy of the cycle.