Park Hill South softball shows off power, finishes 3rd in Joplin

The offense looked unstoppable for four of five games, but Park Hill South ended up settling for third place in the Joplin Tournament over the weekend. The Panthers went unbeaten in pool play, but a 3-1 loss to Blue Springs in a semifinal forced them into the third-place game. 

Park Hill South posted a wild 13-10 victory over Webb City to take third place, completing a 4-1 record in the tournament. The Panthers scored eight runs or more in all four wins and 13 or more in three of them.

In the opener against Carthage, Park Hill South sent 13 to the plate in the first inning and scored seven runs on seven hits, including an RBI double for Georgia Clark. The Panthers even left the bases loaded with a chance to extend the lead.

Park Hill South did more damage in the third, batting nine.

Jessie Hagen hit a three-run home run to start a five-run barrage. Carolyn Stock followed with a solo home run five pitches later, and Clark hit her second home run of the season to cap the frame.

The big hits kept coming in a 14-5 win against Joplin.

Sam Ahrendt hit a two-run double in the first and scored on an error to put Park Hill South up 3-0. Joplin scored once in the bottom of the inning but never led. Hagen homered again — this one a solo shot in the third — and Joplin gave up three unearned in the fourth.

Ahrendt added a solo home run in the fifth and a two-run single in a five-run sixth.

In the finale of pool play, senior star pitcher Olivia Kinsey allowed just one run while striking out 15 in an 8-1 win against Rock Bridge. Kate Kobayashi led off the bottom of the first with a double and scored on Chantice Phillips’ single. Phillips added a three-run home run in the third, one batter after Kobayashi hit a bases-loaded, two-run single.

Park Hill South scored six in the frame, four of the runs unearned.

Blue Springs struck early against Kinsey in the semifinal, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The Panthers came back to tie it in the fourth when Kobayashi led off with a single and scored on Phillips’ double. They ended up with just five hits, and the Wildcats scored twice in the sixth to earn the win with Kinsey charged with all three runs. 

Kinsey walked six and struck out 12.

The third-place game featured three lead changes, a pair of home runs and 11 unearned runs scored by the two teams. Park Hill South trailed 8-2 after the top of the third but immediately came back with five, including a two-run single from Emma Beuerlein.

After reliever Gracie Dieleman retired Webb City in order, Park Hill South tacked on five more in the fifth. Maddi Buckler hit a two-run double, and Kobayashi followed with a two-run home run to left field on an 0-2 count.

Park Hill South dropped to 4-3 overall and lost its Suburban Conference Red Division opener Monday, Aug. 29 against Liberty, an 8-3 winner at Park Hill South High School in Riverside, Mo.