North Platte found a dramatic way to rally and stay unbeaten through two games of KCI Conference play.
Down two runs heading to the bottom of the seventh, the Panthers scored three times in a 5-4 walkoff win Thursday, Sept. 15 at Dean Park in Dearborn, Mo. Janell Manville’s two-out double to left center field scored a pair after a baserunning error nearly squelched the rally.
North Platte’s comeback started with one out.
Kyra Patch and Jordyn Smith walked and were replaced with courtesy runners looking to score the tying runs. Gracie Roach’s perfectly placed popup on the infield fell in for a single to load the bases.
Miranda Daniel followed with a slow ground ball, and Mid-Buchanan opted to throw home. Reghan Ross dropped the throw, allowing North Platte to cut the lead to 4-3 with one out.
McKenzie Sams hit a potential game-tying sacrifice fly, but Brianna Spiers — the second courtesy runner — forgot to tag up and nearly ended up doubled off. She managed to scramble back safely, and Manville followed with a two-out double to score Spiers and Roach with the winning run.
North Platte led 1-0 after the first but went behind 4-1 in the top of the fifth. The Panthers answered back with one, and Patch, Roach and Manville all finished with two hits and one double apiece.
After the win, North Platte was 2-0 in KCI play entering a Tuesday, Sept. 20 matchup with Plattsburg, but the result was not available at The Citizen’s deadline.
North Platte couldn’t keep up the momentum, going 1-3 during a Saturday, Sept. 17 trip to Chillicothe, Mo.
However, the Panthers managed to win the consolation trophy out of nine teams after Norborne left the tournament early for another obligation. The nine teams were divided into three three-team pools, and although North Platte went 0-2, Norborne’s exit bumped the Panthers into the second-place round robin.
North Platte lost 8-5 to Excelsior Springs but dominated Carrollton 16-2. With all three teams in the second place pool going 1-1, North Platte’s margin of victory ended up the tiebreaker to give the Panthers fourth place.
In the opener, North Platte trailed 3-1 after three innings against Norborne but gave up five runs in the fourth on the way to a 7-4 loss. Smith went 3-for-3 with a double and three RBIs while senior centerfielder McKenna Fulton had two hits and scored twice.
Macon scored five in the fifth to turn a 3-2 lead into an 8-3 victory. Smith and junior shortstop Alley Rickel had two hits and an RBI apiece in the loss.
The second place pool opener saw Excelsior Springs take an 8-0 lead after three innings before North Platte closed the gap. Sams went 2-for-3 with a run, and Rickel and Smith had RBIs in the Panthers’ 8-5 loss.
The offense continued to fire against Carrollton, which brought in a reliever in the fifth and couldn’t keep the score close. North Platte tallied the final 13 runs with Fulton scoring three times and Rickel driving in three and scoring two.
Smith had a pair of doubles and two RBIs, while Roach finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Manville had two hits and scored twice.
On the mound, Smith earned the win, going six innings and allowing four hits and one walk. She struck out three.
Hamilton 13, West Platte 0, 5 innings
The Bluejays’ losing streak hit five Thursday, Sept. 15 in Hamilton, Mo., keeping them winless on the season in KCI play.
Sikoya Richard went 1-for-2 with West Platte’s only hit, while Hamilton scored in all four innings. The Bluejays sat at 2-8 overall and 0-3 in the KCI entering a Tuesday, Sept. 20 league game at Lawson, Mo. The result was not available at The Citizen’s deadline.
Weather forced the postponement and then cancellation of a scheduled nonconference game with DeKalb last week after rain washed out the West Platte Invitational the previous weekend.