RIVERSIDE, Mo. – Park Hill South might have taken out a season’s worth of frustration in 4½ innings.
Already young to start the season, the Panthers have also endured key injuries, but they enter Class 4 District 16 play having won three of five after beating Park Hill 13-1 in five innings Monday, Oct. 3 at Park Hill South High School. Georgia Clark followed up Jessie Hagen’s three-run double with a two-run home run in a nine-run second inning, more than enough offense for starting pitcher Gracie Dieleman.
“We played one of the best games of the year right there,” Park Hill South coach Josh Walker said. “The girls did great with making the adjustments, their pitcher was trying to get it in there pretty quick and we made the adjustments on it and hit the ball really, really hard.”
Park Hill’s players and coaches endured a ninth straight loss in a difficult season.
With sophomore Peyton Morehouse on the mound, the Trojans gave up four unearned runs and fell behind for good in the bottom of the first. Park Hill South scored a pair of runs with help from two walks and two errors, stranding two more.
Park Hill stranded runners at first and third for a second straight inning against Dieleman in the top of the second, and Park Hill South came up big in its half of the frame.
The first four batters reached before Sam Ahrendt hit an RBI single. Hagen followed with a drive to center field to score three more. Clark jumped on the next pitch from Morehouse and hit the ball over the left-center field wall.
Park Hill South second baseman Emma Beuerlein, who doubled as the second batter in the inning, added an RBI single and scored on Kate Kobayashi’s second hit of the inning, a double to center. The Panthers batted 12 total in the nine-run outburst.
“It helped that Taylor Johnson and Emma Beuerlein led off the second inning with two screaming line drives and then Georgia’s homerun was outstanding,” Walker said. “It felt really good to get that going and hope to go into districts playing that way.”
Park Hill South (13-13) opens Class 4 District 16 play on Thursday, Oct. 6 in a semifinal with either St. Joseph Central or North Kansas City.
Dieleman will likely be the pitcher again, having taken over for injured all-state senior Olivia Kinsey (strained bicep) earlier in the season. The sophomore right-hander allowed seven hits and hit one batter while striking out two in her final tuneup before the postseason.
“I felt really good to know I had that cushion because after the first inning I thought it might be a close game then the team really helped with the runs,” Dieleman said. “I used to play with three people on that team so it was really nice to go out and have a little friendly competition with them and then it was even better to get the win.”
Park Hill also entered this season with a youthful roster but without the winning experience.
Having won just four games a year ago, the Trojans have struggled again under first-year coach Jackie Qualls. They managed hits in each of the first three innings and stranded three in scoring position. In the fifth, Dieleman yielded her lone run after Izzy Wahlert led off with a double.
Kirsten Waldon and Sarah Werner followed with singles before Dieleman retired the final two batters.
Park Hill was scheduled to open Class 4 District 16 play Wednesday, Oct. 5 in a first round matchup with Oak Park at Park Hill South High School in Riverside, Mo. The semifinals will both be Thursday, Oct. 6 with the championship slated for 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7.
Park Hill South has been to the final each of the past three years and made the only playoff appearance in program history in 2014.
Park Hill South 6, Raytown 2
The Panthers closed Suburban Conference Red Division play with a win Thursday, Sept. 29 at Park Hill South High School in Riverside, Mo.
Despite spending most of the year without Kinsey, Park Hill South went 5-5 in league play. She started the game at shortstop on Thursday, one of just three seniors honored on Senior Night.
Park Hill South started fast and scored three in the first. Kobayashi and Ahrendt started with singles, and a walk to Clark loaded the bases. Meggen Keller scored two with a single to left field and later scored after a fielder’s choice, stolen base and wild pitch.
Keller added an RBI double in the third to make it 4-1 Panthers.
Raytown, which won one of two previous meetings between the two teams, struck for single runs in the second and sixth against Dieleman, who earned the win. She struck out two and spread out five hits and two walks.
Liberty North 12, Park Hill South 2, 6 innings
The Eagles pulled away late for a walkoff win, putting six straight runners on and scoring five in the bottom of the sixth Tuesday, Sept. 27 in Liberty, Mo.
Park Hill South trailed 3-0 after two but closed within one run on Kobayashi’s two-run home run in the top of the third. The big hit came after Beuerlein singled to lead off the inning.
Liberty North retired nine of the next 10 batters before working out of trouble in the top of the sixth before scoring five in the bottom of the frame without recording an out.
Lee’s Summit 10, Park Hill 5
All of the scoring in this Suburban Conference Gold Division game came in the final two innings Tuesday, Sept. 27 at Park Hill High School in Kansas City, Mo.
Lee’s Summit struck for eight in the top of the sixth, capped with a two-run home run off of Park Hill starter Morehouse. The Trojans struck back for three runs with two outs in the bottom half of the frame with Alexa Lashbrook hitting and RBI double followed with MJ LaMunyon’s two-run single.
Park Hill scored two more in the seventh on RBI singles for Josie Heckman and Waldon. On Thursday, Sept. 29, Park Hill lost 18-3 to Blue Springs South putting the Trojans at 0-11 in Gold Division play entering a scheduled finale Tuesday, Oct. 4 against Lee’s Summit North. The result was not available at The Citizen’s deadline.