DEARBORN, Mo. — North Platte’s players thought they were out of the top of the sixth inning. Instead, they found themselves in a mess of a trouble.
The Panthers seemingly recorded the third out in the inning on a squeeze bunt attempt, but after a lengthy challenge, umpires ruled that first baseman Miranda Daniel bobbled the throw. The error allowed DeKalb to score the go-ahead run, and after the players took the field again, Rylee Crockett blasted a three-run home run to center field to cap a 7-3 comeback win for the Tigers on Monday, Sept. 26 at Dean Park.
North Platte continued its aggressive approach at the plate in the final two times at bat but couldn’t muster any response.
“We practice hard and play hard and sometimes the end result isn’t what you want,” North Platte coach Ron Resler said. “I don’t know whether she (bobbled) it or not, but she does a good job for us.”
While Daniel tried to take the blame for the loss after the apparent miscue, North Platte (11-11) wouldn’t have been in the game without the junior.
DeKalb leadoff hitter Morgan Parsons staked the Tigers to a 2-0 lead with single runs in the first and third. She led off the game with a double to deep left and scored on Courtney Shelby’s two-out double. Parsons added a bunt single in the third, stole second and went to third on a single before Shelby had an RBI sacrifice fly.
North Platte put runners on each of the first four innings but didn’t capitalize until the third.
Alley Rickel led off the third reaching on an error and went to third on Gracie Roach’s fielder’s choice plus a throwing error. After a walk to McKenzie Sams, Daniel came through with a two-run single to center field to tie the score.
The big hit came after North Platte squandered McKenna Fulton’s leadoff triple in the first, and the Panthers went on to strand runners in each of the first six innings.
“All year long what kills us is getting runners on base and not getting them home,” Resler said. “The hitting’s kind of overrated because it depends on when you get hits, like they get one when that girl jacks one out, but if you don’t get timely hits, the hits can be misleading.”
North Platte did manage to take a brief lead in the bottom of the fourth.
Jordyn Smith, the Panthers freshman starting pitcher, came through with a two-out single to score Jordyn Goetz, who led off the inning with a walk. They still left two runners in the inning, and Parsons’ leadoff double in the top of the fifth led to a tying run on back-to-back singles for the Tigers off of Smith, who left the bases loaded and avoided further damage with a three-pitch strikeout and a tumbling catch of a popup two pitches later.
North Platte then left runners at second and third without scoring in the bottom of the frame, despite a pair of walks and an error. DeKalb turned a line drive out into a double play to erase one of the three runners.
In the comeback inning, Smith issued an intentional walk to Parsons, and a throwing error on a pickoff attempt put runners at second and third. Mallory Dittemore’s bunt went back to the pitcher, and Smith’s throw appeared to easily beat the runner.
DeKalb coach Aaron Matthews protested, and eventually, the umpires ruled the ball hit the heel of Daniel’s glove and then rolled loose into the webbing.
Rickel led off the bottom of the sixth with a double but was stranded there — North Platte’s final runner. The matchup came two days after the Panthers shut out DeKalb in the Mid-Buchanan tournament and added another frustrating loss to an up-and-down season.
“We only had one way to go, and that was down,” Resler said. “I’m disappointed we didn’t win. I thought we played well enough, but we just didn’t get the hits. I just don’t want the kids to get down and not play well. You play well and get beat, you can’t ask for anymore.”
North Platte advanced to the title game Saturday, Sept. 24 in Faucett, Mo. but ended the tournament with a second loss of the season to the defending Class 2 state champions.
Lathrop struck for six runs in the top of the second to overcome an early deficit on the way to a 9-2 victory. The Mules ended up with 18 hits total against Smith and reliever McKenna Fulton. North Platte managed a single run against Brooke Huitt in the bottom of the first and bottm of the seventh with five total hits.
Rickel and Smith collected two hits apiece for the Panthers — all singles.
North Platte beat DeKalb and Savannah in pool play, scoring all five runs in one inning for a 5-3 victory in the latter. The Panthers then beat St. Joseph Lafayette in bracket play to reach the title game.
East Buchanan 5, North Platte 4
The Panthers fell behind early and couldn’t complete a comeback Thursday, Sept. 22 in Gower, Mo.
Fulton (3-5), Smith (3-3), Rickel (2-4) and Sams (2-4) all had multiple hits for North Platte in the KCI matchup, while Janell Manville doubled and drove in two. The Panthers dropped to 2-3 in league play entering a Tuesday, Sept. 27 matchup with Lawson (result not available at deadline) and the finale Friday at Hamilton.
Plattsburg 4, North Platte 2
The Panthers gave up single runs in each of the first four innings Tuesday, Sept. 20 in Plattsburg, Mo., losing a rematch of last year’s Class 2 District 14 championship game.
North Platte led 1-0 after the top of the first with pitcher Smith collecting the first of her two RBI hits. She finished 3-for-3 with a double but also took the loss on the mound, allowing nine hits to the Tigers.
Savannah 11, West Platte 1
The Bluejays took an early lead Monday, Sept. 26 in a nonconference matchup but couldn’t add any more runs.
Savannah scored once in the fourth, twice in the fifth and four times in the sixth. Sikoya Richard tripled and scored on Lea Moose’s single in the bottom of the first to put West Platte ahead, but the Bluejays finished with just five hits in the loss.
Moose and Richard both finished 2-for-4.
Plattsburg 11, West Platte 4
The Bluejays took a 4-0 lead after the top of the second but couldn’t hold on.
Plattsburg scored five in the bottom of the second and scored at least one in each of the next four innings as well Thursday, Sept. 22 in Plattsburg, Mo. Taylor McNair started and gave up 11 runs on 15 hits, while the Bluejays managed just four hits total.
Rachel Heili, Makayla Wardlow, Karah Dunahm and McNair each had an RBI in the loss for West Platte.
Plattsburg 17, West Platte 1, 5 innings
The Tigers were up 15-0 after the top of the third Wednesday, Sept. 21 in Weston, Mo.
West Platte ended up with just two hits, both singles. Dunham took the loss.
Lawson 11, West Platte 1, 5 innings
The Bluejays plated their lone in the top of the second Tuesday, Sept. 20 in Lawson, Mo. but couldn’t keep the Cardinals off the scoreboard.
Lawson scored in all four innings of the KCI matchup, taking a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Wardlow hit an RBI single in the second, one of only two hits for West Platte.