SMITHVILLE, Mo. — Platte County continued to show a flair for the dramatic. This comeback ended up even more special.
Down two runs going to the bottom of the seventh, the Pirates hit three home runs to earn a walkoff 6-4 win over Smithville in a pool play opener for the Northland Tournament. Kobe Cummings and Justin Mitchell hit solo shots to tie the score, and after a single, Gammill’s second home run of the year delivered the unlikely win.
“Two guys in the inning already hit home runs so with a guy one first, I was like I’ll try to move the runner and then it just came off the bat and it felt good,” Gammill said. “When Kobe hit that home run it was like alright, we have one more to go to tie it up, then Justin hit his, and we just kept it going.”
Platte County stretched its winning streak to 10 straight with another tight one. The Pirates were at 10-1 entering its second scheduled Northland Tournament game slated for Tuesday, April 18 at Park Hill South.
The result was not available at The Citizen’s deadline.
“If you look at the way we have played all year, they never give up,” Platte County coach Rob Davenport said. “I never really had doubt that we could do it, but odds are against you.”
Platte County’s offense had been slow with seven hits — six of them singles — in the first six innings.
Playing as the home team based on a coin flip, the Pirates trailed 4-2 when Cummings hit his first home run of the season with one out, barely clearing the left field fence. Ethan Esdohr, playing in center field after senior Colton Horn left earlier in the game due to injury, then flied to center for the second out.
Mitchell, Platte County’s senior all-state catcher, followed with his second home run of the season to tie the score. Drew Parmeley then pushed his batting average back over .500 with a single, and Gammill started with a 3-0 count.
After taking a strike and fouling off two pitches, Gammill hit a blast to left center field to plate the final two runs.
Smithville scored four unanswered to take the lead, plating one in the fourth, two in the fifth and one in the sixth against two Platte County pitchers. Jared Wilson, the Pirates’ senior ace, threw 4 1/3 innings and allowed three runs — two earned — on four hits, while senior reliever Grant Carver worked two innings and gave up a run on five hits.
Platte County stranded eight runners, four of them in scoring position in the final three innings.
“I was happy with the pitching,” Davenport said. “We struggled a little bit there in the middle, but we’re going to have some days like that.”
Platte County stranded six runners in the first six innings and couldn’t come up with the big inning.
Cummings doubled to lead off the bottom of the first and scored on Mitchell’s single two batters later, but Smithville avoided further damage with an inning-ending double play. The Pirates took a 2-0 lead in the third when Horn walked and advanced to third before scoring on Parmeley’s single.
Park Hill South 13, North Kansas City 0, 5 innings
The Panthers took the lead in the team standings with the biggest victory in the Northland’s opening round Monday, April 14 in North Kansas City, Mo.
Park Hill South scored in three of five innings, pulling away in the third and then the fifth. The Panthers put up six in the third, including a two-run single for senior outfielder Andrew Aswegan, then plated six more in the fifth, sending 10 to the plate.
Collin Brougham had a two-run single, and Malik Stevenson capped the rally with a two-run-triple. Ryan Hagen, Jake Evans and Chase Putnam combined on the shutout, allowing just one hit and combining to strike out six.
Park Hill South was scheduled to complete pool play vs. Platte County and then vs. Staley (Wednesday, April 19).
Park Hill 6, Fort Osage 2
After allowing an early run, Liam Henry went to work, and the Trojans provided enough offense in a win Monday, April 17 in Independence, Mo.
Henry — Park Hill’s left-handed ace — allowed only two runs over five innings, striking out 11. Bryce Balusek came on in relief for the final two innings and allowed just one hit while striking out two to earn the save.
Grant Mertz hit a two-run single in the third and then scored on an error in a four-run third inning that gave Park Hill the lead for good. Joseph Daneff, who reached on an error, later scored on Christian Hackworth’s single, as the Trojans batted around.
In the fifth, Mertz added a solo home run, and he also drove in Park Hill’s final run in the sixth with a single to score Tyler Watson, who went 0-for-1 with three walks and two runs. The Trojans were scheduled to complete pool play vs. North Kansas City (Tuesday, April 18) and vs. Liberty (Wednesday, April 19).