Park Hill baseball shuffles through pitching in Metro Classic

Park Hill split four pool games during a busy opening weekend.

Playing in the Metro Leadoff Classic, the Trojans were 2-2 and set to play in a place game Tuesday, March 21 in Liberty, Mo. The first four games were up and down for an experienced squad that opened with questions about pitching.

The opener Friday, March 17 ended with a 3-1 victory over a new Suburban Conference Gold Division rival.

Liam Henry, a left-handed junior, threw four scoreless innings of no-hit baseball against Blue Springs, walking three and striking out seven in his debut as Park Hill’s new potential ace. The Trojans struck for all three runs in the top of the third with RBIs from Grant Mertz, Conner Morehouse and Zayne Morrow.

Mertz and Tyler Watson had a double apiece as part of Park Hill’s five-hit attack.

In a doubleheader Saturday, March 18, Park Hill outslugged Oak Park in a 13-7 victory but lost 10-0 against co-host Liberty North, which scored in four of five innings against three Trojans pitchers in a run-rule shortened win. Park Hill didn’t have a hit and managed just one walk against Carl Occhpinto.

The win against Oak Park included two big innings in a comeback effort.

Park Hill led 1-0 after the top of the first but trailed 4-1 after the first inning. The Trojans came back with four in the top of the second but entered the fourth tied at 5-5. A six-run fourth inning put the Northmen down for good.

Watson went 4-for-4 with four runs and two RBIs for Park Hill, while Trevor Guzzo had two hits, three runs and two RBIs. Henry, hitting third for the Trojans, drove in four with three hits, and Mertz — batting cleanup — drove in two and scored once.

In all, the top four hitters accounted for 10 RBIs and 10 runs scored.

Watson had a double and a triple, while Henry hit a double and two triples. Mertz had two doubles for Park Hill, which belted out eight extra-base hits. Morrow earned the win for the Trojans despite allowing five runs in three innings, while Bryce Balusek threw four innings of relief, giving up two runs (one earned).

Park Hill’s pool finale ended in a second lopsided loss.

Rockhurst scored in five of seven innings in an 11-1 win. The damage came against four different pitchers with only Reid King (2/3 of an inning) not allowing at least one run.

King also drove in Park Hill’s only run in the bottom of the second with a single, cutting the Hawklets lead to 5-1 at that point. Morrow had the Trojans’ only other two hits, both also singles.

Park Hill was scheduled to play Smithville in the place game. The five teams from each pool were paired based on order of finish after the completion of the four-game round robin.

The results of the matchup with Smithville was not available at The Citizen’s deadline.