WESTON, Mo. — West Platte’s pair of aces will be dealt to different teams next year after both inked national letters of intent to play different collegiate sports. McKaulley Stephenson and Luke Horseman — both seniors — finalized their commitments with a ceremony Friday, Nov. 13 in the West Platte High School library. Both have been standouts for the perennial power baseball team, but only one will remain on the diamond beyond this school year.
Horseman signed to golf at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph while Stephenson plans to pitch for William Jewell in Liberty, Mo.
A unique road ultimately landed Horseman with the Griffons. West Platte is one of three KCI conference schools which do not offer golf for their high school athletes. This meant Horseman had to get noticed on the summer junior golf series where he excelled this summer.
James O’Brien, an East Buchanan graduate, made it onto Western’s golf team the same way.
“I played in a lot of junior golf tournaments to get noticed that way,” Horseman said. “I don’t think not playing high school golf really affected me getting to play college golf.”
Horseman finished 33rd in the Missouri Golf Association’s Stroke Play Championships this past summer at the St. Joseph County Club in St. Joseph, Mo. He was the top finisher among local high school athletes that made the two-round cut at the prestigious tournament. He also qualified for the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships held at the PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens Fla. He missed the cut by six strokes after posting a 19-over in the three qualifying rounds.
Horseman’s options to golf in college were limited because many area universities do not offer men’s golf due to Title IX restrictions. Ultimately, he chose Western.
“It’s close, I know my parents graduated from there so it’s a good school,” said Horseman, who also plays basketball for West Platte. “That’s why I chose it. They are great people and it’s a great program that’s why I want to play for them.”
Already a three-time Missouri Baseball Coaches Association all-state pick, Stephenson helped West Platte reach the Class 2 state playoffs for a third straight season in 2015. He finished with a 9-2 record and 1.30 earned run average with 109 strikeouts in 64 2/3 innings last year, his runs allowed hurt by an 11-1 loss to eventual state champion Valle Catholic in last year’s state semifinals.
Despite his success, Stephenson didn’t receive much attention from college coaches until last summer when he ultimately chose William Jewell, a Division II school.
“Originally I was a little worried because I didn’t get a single (scholarship) offer,” Stephenson said. “Then summer of my junior year, I got four or five from places I really liked. My first college offer came on the board, and I immediately wanted to sign and get it done. But my dad was there to help me be patient with it to get the right pick.”
Stephenson started and took a no decision after six innings of work in West Platte’s 4-3 loss to Hartville in the Class 2 state championship game his freshman year. He became the ace the following the season, leading the Bluejays back into the playoffs before a quarterfinal loss to Archie ended their season.
Horseman became the No. 2 pitcher behind Stephenson last year, compiling 63 strikeouts and 1.36 ERA in 41 1/3 innings of work. Horseman finished with a 6-2 record while hitting .307 with 14 RBIs in the regular season while playing second base when not on the mound.
Stephenson batted .428 with team-highs of four home runs and 36 RBIs, helping West Platte return to the state semifinals for a second time in three years. The Bluejays finished 19-6 and tied with New Bloomfield for third after rain canceled the scheduled third place game.
Overall, West Platte is 57-15 the past three years with Horseman and Stephenson as starters.