North Platte closed the KCI Conference with an up and a down last week.
The big win came against Class 2 District 15 foe Lawson on Tuesday, Sept. 27 and featured a wild rally at Dean Park in Dearborn, Mo. Relief pitcher McKenna Fulton earned the win in a 10-7 victory, while starter Jordyn Smith ended up with the save, reentering after the Panthers staged a frantic comeback in the bottom of the sixth.
Lawson led 6-1 and 7-3 but couldn’t finish the job.
In the bottom of the sixth, McKenzie Sams led off with a walk, and Lawson’s starting pitcher briefly left the game with an illness. Janell Manville and Miranda Daniel then walked against the reliever before the starter came back out with the bases loaded.
Kadilynn Kelly scored the first batter with a single through the hole between third and shortstop, and Fulton followed with a blooper to plate another and cut the deficit to 7-5. Kyra Patch, North Platte’s lone senior on senior night, hit the third straight run-scoring single, and Alley Rickel walked to tie the game.
Smith then then grounded into a 5-2-3 double play to leave runners at second and third and two outs.
Gracie Roach followed with a two-run, go-ahead double, and Sams came up with a single to score her and put North Platte up 10-7.
Smith, who came out of the game with one-out in the top of the sixth, reentered at pitcher for North Platte in the seventh. Lawson put two runners on with errors to bring up the potential tying run before she closed the door on the save.
North Platte scored once in the fourth and twice in the fifth. Sams went 3-for-4 with a double plus the walk and three RBIs. Rickel and Jordyn Goetz also had doubles, and Rickel and Kelly drove in two more each.
In the regular season finale, North Platte lost 9-8 to Maryville but information from the game was not available. The Panthers enter the postseason with a 12-13 record, looking for a third straight district title.
North Platte earned the No. 4 seed in an extremely deep six-team Class 2 District 14 bracket slated to be played this week in Lathrop, Mo. The Panthers open Wednesday, Oct. 5 against Mid-Buchanan with the winner advancing to play top-seeded, undefeated defending state champion Lathrop in a semifinal Thursday, Oct. 6.
Hamilton 4, North Platte 3
The Panthers scored three in the top of the first but watched the lead evaporate into a loss Thursday, Sept. 29 in Hamilton, Mo.
Hamilton scored three in the third and plated the winning run in the bottom of the sixth against Smith, who allowed just five hits. Roach hit a two-run double in the first and scored on Goetz’s single.
North Platte had six hits but also committed three errors, and the Panthers finished 3-4 in KCI play.
Lathrop 19, West Platte 1, 4 innings
The Mules scored 11 in the first inning of a KCI Conference victory Thursday, Sept. 29 in Weston, Mo.
West Platte scored once in the third and committed seven errors, losing the final KCI game of the year. The Bluejays (2-14) went 0-7 in league play and enter the Class 1 District 14 play having lost 11 in a row overall.
In the opening round, West Platte plays Pattonsburg at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5 in Pattonsburg, Mo. The winner advances to play top-seeded Maysville on Thursday, Oct. 6.