After watching Jared Wilson work out of minor trouble in two straight innings, Platte County finally decided to give the junior ace a little run support.
Wilson didn’t need much, and senior designated hitter Drew Parmeley’s chopped groundball to third base in the bottom of the fourth inning proved to be just enough in a 1-0 victory against Kearney — a win that locked up a second straight Suburban Conference Blue Division title for the Pirates. Wilson finished a masterful performance with 10 strikeouts in his shutout.
An error, a bloop single and Parmeley’s fielder’s choice provided the lone run in what started and ended as a pitcher’s duel between league rivals.
“Basically, I took pretty good hacks the first two (pitches) and fouled it off,” Parmeley said. “My third swing, I just tried to put it in play and get the job done.”
Wilson ended up needing 104 pitches to finish the complete game, but he didn’t run into much trouble after the Pirates plated their only run.
Kearney finished with just three hits and no walks, but Eric Tubaugh singled with two outs in the sixth to bring up No. 3 hitter Robbie Collier, who homered in the Bulldogs’ first loss to Platte County this season. Collier struck out for the second time to end the innings, and Wilson put Kearney down in order in the seventh, including a strikeout of Max Ivy to start the frame.
Platte County coach Rob Davenport warmed up Max Hunter on two occasions but didn’t end up needing to use the bullpen thanks to his University of Missouri-bound right hander.
“They did an excellent job of fouling a lot of pitches off and getting his pitch count up,” Platte County coach Rob Davenport said, “so he did a good job keeping it down with other batters — getting those quick strikeouts, quick groundballs. That was big late in the game for us.
“(Wilson’s) days have fallen well for us this year, but it’s helped having the other pitchers to give him the rest he needs.”
Kearney starter Zack Murphy allowed only three hits and two walks while recording seven strikeouts in his six innings of work.
However, an error in the fourth inning put Colton Horn on first base with no outs, and he stole second base to move into scoring position. One batter later, Austin Gammill blooped a single into center field, but Horn held up to make sure the ball would drop, leaving him at third with one out.
Parmeley followed, chopping a two-strike pitch to third base. The throw came home with Horn running, and he slid in safely under the tag for the first run.
Gammill moved up to third on the play, and pinch runner Carter Nugent stole second. But Murphy struck out the next two batters to keep Platte County’s lead at 1-0.
“I felt like I had to get the job done for Jared because he’s been throwing his heart out lately,” Parmeley said. “Their pitcher did a pretty nice job of hitting spots and changing speeds, but we found a way to get the job done.”
The run came after Wilson worked around a pair of potentially dangerous runners.
In the top of the third, Zack Riley smacked a double to left-center field for the hardest hit ball off of Wilson, who came back to strike out the next two batters before escaping the jam by retiring leadoff hitter Brady Holder. Tubaugh singled to lead off the fourth for his first hit but didn’t advance before Wilson set down the next three hitters.
“I had a pretty good rhythm going,” Wilson said. “One hit happens. It’s baseball, just had to keep moving on. One run was all we needed, it looked like. We did good.”
The win improved Platte County to 8-1 in Blue Division play and assured the outright league title just a day after an upset loss to Grandview. The Pirates were scheduled to play Winnetonka on Monday, May 9, but rain forced postponement.
Platte County has won 8 of 9 heading into the conference finale, set to be played Wednesday, May 11 with the regular season finale against St. Joseph Central tentatively moved to Friday, May 13.
“I wasn’t concerned about the pressure,” Davenport said of playing Kearney after the loss, “but I talked to them this morning about the real impact of last night’s game will be told tonight on how you rebound. How do you respond to a disappointing outcome?
“I thought they responded well, and the big difference tonight, I thought, was we had 19 guys all willing each other to win.”
Grandview 3, Platte County 2
The Pirates’ first Blue Division loss came against a surprising opponent.
In the third game of four in consecutive days, Platte County fell behind early, tied the score at 1-1 but couldn’t recover after the Bulldogs scored twice in the top of the third at Platte County High School. Colton Horn hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first to level the score, but the Pirates managed just one more run despite seven hits.
Grandview managed only three hits off of starter Grant Carver, who also walked three in a complete game.
Platte County’s other six hits after Horn’s home run were all singles. He went 2-for-3, as did Jerod Thomas, who scored in the bottom of the sixth on Parmeley’s RBI single.
Platte County 6, Belton 4, 8 innings
For the second time this season, Platte County needed extra innings to beat Belton.
Parmeley’s RBI single in the top of the eighth scored Kodee Martin for the eventual winning run. Grant Carver recorded the final three outs in relief.
Earlier in the season, Thomas had a walkoff hit in the eighth to beat Belton.
Dillon Doll reached base four times for Platte County, including singles in the third, fifth and eighth innings. He score once and drove in a run. Belton took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first off of Horn, who started on the mound and ended up allowing four runs on eight hits in seven innings.