DEARBORN, Mo. — North Platte improved on its win total from a year ago but could do no better in the postseason.
Kansas City Lutheran swept the season series with a 4-2 victory against the Panthers in a Class 2 District 16 first round matchup Monday, May 18 at Dean Park. The Knights advanced to a semifinal matchup with West Platte, scheduled for Tuesday, May 19 by limiting North Platte to just two hits, while striking out 11 hitters.
Results of the West Platte-Lutheran game were not available at The Citizen’s deadline.
The No. 4 seed in the six-team bracket, North Platte tallied one run in the bottom of the seventh to jumpstart hope of a season-saving rally, but the final two batters struck out, stranding a runner at second base. The Panthers finished the season 5-14 overall and 1-10 in KCI play, up from four wins total in 2014 — none in league play.
“We couldn’t get that timely hit,” North Platte coach Grant Tysdahl said. “They made a couple of pretty good plays, shut down the momentum and stopped the inning. We just didn’t have that hit today. We left the bat on our shoulder four times today with runners in scoring position. We’re trying to put the ball in play.”
Lutheran plated two runs in the third inning on a two-out two-RBI single from Mike Richardson, who finished 3-for-4. They plated two more in the fifth inning and held on for the win.
North Platte answered with one run in the bottom of the fifth after Blake Toliver led off with a single. A sacrifice bunt moved him to second before three straight walks forced him home and gave Austin Shanks an RBI.
Garrett Lamar grounded into a double play to end the inning.
In the seventh, Triston Rickel singled to right field with one out and promptly stole second. He scored when Shanks reached on a throwing error, but he advanced no further. Lutheran beat North Platte 11-1 in a regular season meeting back on April 13.
“We’re definitely in the rebuilding stage,” Tysdahl said. “I knew the wins and losses weren’t going to be a significant increase, but we were in so many more games this year, getting to the seventh inning. We have a tough schedule. All of our conference schools are looking for a deep postseason run, and I think they can.”
West Platte 13, Lathrop 3, 6 innings
The Bluejays scored seven times in the bottom of the sixth Tuesday, May 12 in Weston, Mo., closing the regular season with another walkoff win.
West Platte ended up second in the KCI Conference at 10-2 but avenged a previous loss to the Mules that cost a share of the league crown. Lawson won the title outright, going 11-1 with the lone loss to West Platte.
Stephenson went 2-for-2 with a home run and three RBIs to lead the offense. Seth Eagen scored twice, and Peyton Morris drove in two more for the Bluejays, who fell behind 1-0 in the top of the third and 3-1 in the top of the fourth. West Platte took the lead for good with four in the fifth before the big final inning.
Clay Lambrecht earned the win with 2 2/3 shutout innings in relief of Tanner Lintner, charged with all three runs but only one earned.
Mid-Buchanan 18, North Platte 8
The Dragons built a 14-0 lead the quashed the Panthers’ rally Tuesday, May 12 at Dean Park in Dearborn, Mo.
North Platte finished the regular season with just one win in KCI play, a 9-7 victory against Lathrop on April 16. The Panthers were 1-10 overall with the last game scheduled against Plattsburg cancelled after a second inclement weather issue the prior week.
Mid-Buchanan out hit North Platte 10-9, and the Panthers committed eight errors. Shanks and Rickel contributed a double apiece and combined to drive in seven of their eight runs.