CONCORDIA, Mo. — North Platte dug an early hole and ended up unable to replicate last year’s postseason success.
Crest Ridge scored two runs in the first inning of a Class 2 District 16 first round game Thursday, May 11 at Concordia High School and held on for a 6-0 win. North Platte entered as the No. 5 seed, looking to match last year’s win total but ended up with only three hits.
Last year with a completely different set of district foes, North Platte reached the semifinals and posted nine wins. The Panthers ended up 8-10 this season but due to numerous rainouts didn’t have nearly as many chances as desired to build off of last season.
“We didn’t quite meet our season goal of going over .500, but we had a couple rainouts unfortunately that were some games that I think we could’ve been able to handle,” North Platte coach Grant Tysdahl said. “I thought they played tremendous all year, and we came in winning some games and being where we needed to be.”
North Platte finished the season with six seniors — Halen Knapp, Hunter Oliver, Mark Fisher, Jacob Stubbs, Holden Love and Garrett Lamar.
The group started four years ago with Tysdahl inheriting a downtrodden program. The past two seasons have included numerous successes, and this year, the Panthers won three straight in the middle of the season, showing glimpses of potential to make a postseason run.
Crest Ridge made the task difficult with a strong first inning in the District 16 opener.
Trevor Lamar started for North Platte and issued a walk before allowing back-to-back singles that put the Cougars ahead 2-0. In the second and third, North Platte committed errors leading to unearned runs and a 4-0 deficit.
North Platte’s offense never got started despite not striking out until the fifth inning.
“It just wasn’t our day,” Tysdahl said. “The first 14 outs we put in play, and the kids were doing what we asked them. But just hats off to Crest Ridge because they played great.”
Lamar went 2 2/3 innings giving up four runs, five hits and four walks while recording one strikeout. North Platte junior Austin Snook came on in relief for 3 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks.
Oliver, Garrett Lamar and junior Remington Wilson collected North Platte’s three hits — two singles and a double for Oliver — while Caine Huffman, a freshman, drew the only walk.
Coming into the season, North Platte’s experience was mostly in solid defense, but Oliver, Wilson and the Lamars formed a potent top of the lineup at times. The pitching never sorted itself out to give Tysdahl a firm rotation, and the senior group leaves having gone from four wins as freshmen to battling for .500 and competing for postseason victories.
“Talk about a tremendous group of character kids,” Tysdahl said. “All six of them started with me and through all of my first four years, and we started year one. That was really rough with a pretty brutal record, and they’re freshmen out there playing a lot of varsity games so it was fun to grow with them even as a coach for me.”