Park Hill softball upends Platte County for key win in Greater KC semis

Park Hill just missed taking home a title, but the Trojans’ rebuilding process took a huge step forward in last week’s Greater Kansas City Tournament.

With a big win in the semifinals against Platte County, Park Hill advanced to the championship game of the silver bracket before losing 4-0 to Smithville on Thursday, Aug. 24. The Trojans went 3-2 in the season-opening tournament, putting them within one win of matching the season total from each of the past two seasons.

The second-place pool finishers were in the eight-team silver bracket.

After opening with a win against Belton on Wednesday, Aug. 23, Park Hill took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second of the semifinal with Platte County — a Class 3 district finalist each of the past three seasons. Kali Day walked, and a courtesy runner scored three plays later on Miranda LaMunyon’s double down the third base line.

Park Hill took the lead for good with two runs in the fifth.

After a walk and a single, Chloe Strickland scored a run with a groundout, and Peyton Morehouse followed with a two-out single to make it 3-1. Platte County brought the tying run to the plate in sixth and seventh but didn’t score.

Kaylyn Jones started for Park Hill and allowed only one run on Janessa Barmann’s solo home run that tied the score at 1-1 in the top of the fourth. Jones struck out five and allowed only three hits and two walks.

After the two wins on Wednesday, Park Hill’s tournament concluded the next day with the shutout loss to Smithville in the silver bracket final.

Platte County ended up 2-3 in the tournament, dropping into the third-place game after the loss to Park Hill. The Pirates lost 11-7 to Liberty in the finale on Thursday, Aug. 24.

Against Liberty, Platte County led 3-2 after two innings but allowed at least one run in each of the first five innings of the six-inning game. The Blue Jays plated five in the fifth to go up 11-3.

Platte County came back with four in the fifth on an RBI single from Shayla Kohler, an RBI groundout for Emma Koeneke and a two-run double for freshman shortstop Maddie Carter.

Liberty gave up eight hits, but seven of them were singles. Paige Rocha went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and Koeneke scored twice.

Platte County reached the semifinals after a 4-2 win over Suburban Conference Blue Division rival Kearney on Wednesday. The Pirates trailed 2-0 after the top of the third but scored twice in the bottom of the third before adding two more in the fourth.

Koeneke and sophomore Gracie Erickson split pitching duties. Erickson allowed just two hits and two walks with one strikeout in three scoreless relief innings to earn the save and hold the win for Koeneke, who hit a two-out, two-run home run to tie the score in the third.

Rocha hit a sacrifice fly to put Platte County ahead in the fourth, and Carter scored the fourth run on an errant throw home on the same play.