KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Park Hill remains undeterred. After two straight difficult seasons, the Trojans have seen enough success this season to know where they stand.
Lee’s Summit North came to Park Hill High School on Monday, Sept. 25 and took a 13-1 victory in five innings, keeping Park Hill from finally ending one frustrating streak. The Trojans have not won a Suburban Conference Gold Division game despite already hitting 10 wins overall for the season.
Park Hill (10-15) won just four games total in each of the past two seasons, but the Trojans would still like to earn a league win before the end of the season.
“I honestly think we’re really close,” Park Hill coach Jackie Qualls said. “We’re right there, but we’re still very young. We’ve played some really good teams really tight this year, and I think we’re kind of into the grind of the season. Some of the younger players are starting to fatigue and wear down a little bit if they’re not used to the constant push.
“I think once we can get them figured out and through that, I think things will become more successful toward the end of the season.”
Park Hill dropped to 0-9 in Gold Division play with three chances left to end the league drought.
Lee’s Summit North scored 13 runs on 16 hits against Trojans’ starter Kaylyn Jones, now pairing with junior Peyton Morehouse to give Qualls two options on the mound. Morehouse, a three-year starter, also continues to be a big part of a developing lineup.
Morehouse went 3-for-4 against the Broncos, driving in Park Hill’s lone run with a double in the bottom of the fifth to score Isabella Wahlert.
Park Hill brought the run needed to extend the game past five innings to the plate in the inning but couldn’t score again. The Trojans lost a third straight entering a scheduled Tuesday, Sept. 26 matchup with Lee’s Summit (result not available) plus games Thursday and Friday with Blue Springs South and Lee’s Summit West.
Regardless of results the rest of the way, Qualls hopes this season serves as a breakthrough for the program.
“I’m hoping we leave just a good team morale,” Morehouse said. “We’ve built a team that likes to play with each other and likes to be around each other and hopefully that carries through a bunch of years down the road.”
Park Hill managed just four hits against Lee’s Summit North, but the offense has produced five or more runs 11 times this year.
Chloe Strickland, Josie Heckman, Morehouse and Kali Day occupy the top four spots in the lineup, while freshman Sam Bertoncino has quickly become a contributor in the No. 5 spot. Kirsten Waldon, Alexa Lashbrook, Jessie Binckley and Miranda LaMunyon round out the Trojans’ regulars, who have all played a lot of innings from the start of their careers to reach this point.
Qualls has just two seniors on the roster.
“From last year our freshmen class to this year as sophomores, they have really matured and have become a lot better unit together,” Qualls said. “The freshmen that we have had come in this year, they have stepped in and the freshmen and sophomores both have made a very cohesive unit joining together and the juniors are trying to show them the proper things to get things done.”
Raymore-Peculiar 12, Park Hill 1, 5 innings
The Panthers earned the win with a pair of six-run innings in a Gold Division matchup Thursday, Sept. 21 at Park Hill High School in Kansas City, Mo.
Down 6-0 after the top of the first, Park Hill came back with its lone run in the bottom half of the opening frame. Strickland singled and moved up on a fielder’s choice, coming home on Morehouse’s single.
Park Hill managed just three more hits the rest of the way.