The senior right-hander looked good from the start in a matchup with rival Park Hill on Friday, April 17. He struck out five of the first seven Trojans batters before an error and a hit in the third inning broke up his attempt at a second no-hitter on the season.
Purl ended up throwing a complete game one-hitter in a 5-0 win at Park Hill High School, just more than two weeks after he no-hit Platte County.
“I felt dominant,” Purl said. “Right when I was playing catch I knew it was going to be a great day. In the bullpen, I was throwing a lot of strikes, and I knew it was going to be good. Once you know you are throwing strikes and the defense is on, I knew it was good.”
A one-out single from Jake Stoulil proved to be Park Hill’s only hit.
Purl retired the first seven batters before Chase McCollom reached on a throwing error, and Stoulil then flared an 0-1 pitch down the first base line, a ball that blooped in front of onrushing right fielder Richard Fullerton. Purl recovered to strike out Chris Kaufman before pinch runner Liam Henry was gunned down trying to advance to second on a wild pitch.
The throw from catcher John Chacon helped protect Park Hill South’s 1-0 lead intact and end what became the Trojans’ lone scoring threat.
“We haven’t worked too much on the running game and those situations,” Park Hill coach Greg Reynolds said. “We were thinking about going to a delayed steal or leave early to try and steal a run and get it tied up. With the ball being in the dirt it, it ended up being a delayed type of steal. I think Liam was safe. It was a bang-bang play. He made the right decision going. You have to make plays right there with your hitting.”
Purl allowed just one more baserunner — a two-out walk to Kyle Francis in the fourth inning — and he fanned the side in the seventh to notch his 11th, 12th and 13th strikeouts of the game. His fastball reached as high as 92 miles per hour, according to a scout’s radar gun.
“He’s pretty good,” Park Hill South coach Josh Walker said. “I’m glad he’s on my team — 83 pitches, 83 fastballs, 13 strikeouts. He just did a good job of pitching in the zone.”
Park Hill South sophomore Jacob Kline led off the game with a walk, stole second and advanced to third when Conner Morehouse threw to first base to complete a dropped third strike for the second out of the inning. Kline later scored on an error for the only run Park Hill South (9-5, 3-1 Suburban League Red Division) needed.
Park Hill starter Aaron Ashby went on to allow just two more runs in six innings, keeping the Panthers off balance after the Trojans received some bad news about senior lefthander Will March. March, Park Hill’s pitcher of the year in 2014, underwent Tommy John surgery earlier in the week.
“I thought with the one we were maybe not safe, but (Purl) was doing a good job,” Walker said. “The great thing about him is he has that strikeout capability. He seems to get more focused when the game gets tough. He’s a competitor. I think he was dialed in.”
Park Hill South added two more insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning.
Chacon led off with a walk, stole second and advanced to third after the the throw trying to nab him went into centerfield. Jacob Thigpen drove him in one batter later with his third RBI of the game.
The designated hitter came around to score on a two-out RBI double from Codey Land.
Platte County 9, Park Hill 0
The Pirates toppled the Trojans on Wednesday, April 15 behind Jared Wilson’s complete game shutout at Park Hill High School.
Park Hill managed just three singles while striking out seven times. Wilson also walked once.
Platte County jumped to a 6-0 lead after the top of the second. Matt Mefford hit an RBI triple in the first inning, and Justin Mitchell’s two-run double in the second helped extend the advantage. Colton Horn drove in one in each inning without a hit.
Mefford got on base three times in the game for the Pirates. He scored two runs and had one RBI.
Mefford added two walks and scored twice, while shortstop and leadoff hitter Kodee Martin scored three times. Park Hill’s Preston Cross took the loss, lasting just 2 1/3 innings.
Platte County 3, Winnetonka 1
The Pirates improved to 2-1 in Suburban League Blue Division play with a win Friday, April 17 at Platte County High School.
Mefford allowed just two hits and walked none in the complete-game victory.
Mitchell went 3-for-3, hitting a solo home run in the first inning and adding singles in the fourth and the sixth. Platte County, which won consecutive games for the first time this season, managed just five hits total against Winnetonka starter Chase Williams, who went six inning and walked none.
Park Hill South 6, Fort Osage 4
Panthers pitcher Jake Evans pitched around a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning Monday, April 20.
Jacob Thigpen allowed four runs-three earned before ceding to Evans with two runners on and no outs in the seventh inning. Fullerton, Richards and Land each had one RBI in the game while Carter Hedrick’s two fifth-inning RBIs proved to be the difference.
Park Hill 6, St. Pius X 4
Francis worked six strong innings, allowing just one earned run Monday, April 20.
Park Hill second baseman Lucas Youtsey scored three runs while going 3-for-3 with a walk. Morehouse and Preston Cross both drove in two runs apiece.
Liberty 11, Platte County 1
Martin went 2-for-3 with the Pirates’ lone run in a five-inning game Monday, April 20. Horn drove in Martin in the top of the first inning to give the Pirates a brief lead, but they dropped to 4-9 on the season with matchups against Fort Osage and North Kansas City left in the Northland Tournament.
Liberty scored two runs in the second and seven in the third to put the game out of reach. The Blue Jays then walked off in the fifth scoring twice to invoke the run rule.