Despite returning only three starters from a season ago, Platte County won its first three games on the way to a fourth-place finish in the Greater Kansas City Classic — a 24-team tournament held over five days at Adair Park in Independence, Mo.
The Pirates went 2-0 in pool play to reach the Gold Bracket, the championship level eight-team field. They opened with a 6-0 shutout of Oak Park on Tuesday, Aug. 23 before losing to Lee’s Summit in the semifinals later that day and then losing 6-3 to Blue Springs South in the third-place game.
All three games were against Class 4 schools.
In the win against Oak Park, Platte County’s Gracie Erickson, a freshman, continued her hot start with a complete game, allowing only four hits and no walks while striking out two. The Pirates went ahead in the bottom of the first inning when Paige Rocha tripled and scored on Anna Townsend’s double.
Rocha finished 2-for-4.
Shayla Kohler, a sophomore, went 2-for-3 and drove in two, and Platte County took advantage of an error in the fourth inning to score three unearned runs. A run in the sixth inning on one of Kohler’s RBI singles provided the final margin of victory.
Against Lee’s Summit, Platte County collected eight hits and held a pair of two-run leads but ended up with a 12-7 loss.
The Tigers came back with seven runs in the final two innings against Kohler, who came on in the fifth to relieve Erickson in what turned into a six-inning game. The Pirates committed four errors.
Rocha again shined from the leadoff spot with a triple in the third inning and a double in the fourth.
Platte County scored five in the third to take a 5-3 lead, but Lee’s Summit immediately answered with two to tie the score. Tori Farr, a senior shortstop, hit a two-out triple for the Pirates in the bottom of the fourth, scoring Rocha and Lauren Magee.
Up 7-5 at that point, Platte County’s lead dissolved in the fifth, and the Tigers went ahead five in the top of the sixth.
Coming back for the third-place game on Wednesday, Aug. 24, Platte County never led with Kohler starting and allowing five runs in the first two innings. The Pirates closed the gap with three runs in the top of the fifth on an RBI double for Magee and RBI singles for Farr and Townsend.
Magee went 2-for-2.
Park Hill battled back after an 0-3 start in the tournament to claim the bronze bracket’s consolation game. The Trojans’ back-to-back wins against Odessa and Raytown South helped put them within two victories of last year’s win total in a down season.
After a 10-4 loss to Pleasant Hill, Park Hill fell behind 1-0 to Raytown South after the first inning, but sophomore pitcher Peyton Morehouse struck out three straight to strand the bases loaded in the bottom of the frame.
Park Hill came back with two runs in the top of the second and didn’t trail again in a 14-3 five-inning win, taking advantage of nine errors from the Cardinals. An eight-run fifth inning for the Trojans included an RBI single for Josie Heckman followed with a two-run single from Kali Day. Morehouse (RBI double) and Alexa Lashbrook (RBI single) capped the big inning.
In the consolation game, Park Hill led start to finish in a 5-2 win. Morehouse struck out nine while scattering seven hits and two walks.
Park Hill took a 1-0 lead in the first after Kirsten Waldon led off with a single, moved up on a sacrifice bunt and scored on an error. The Trojans’ stretched the advantage to 3-0 in the fourth when Heckman and Day walked to start the frame, and Morehouse followed with a two-RBI triple.
Platte County 6, Grandview 5, 8 innings
In a Suburban Conference Blue Division opener that featured three lead changes, the Pirates prevailed when Alana Doll scored the winning run Monday, Aug. 29 in Grandview, Mo.
Platte County took a 1-0 lead in the first inning but fought back from there with the Bulldogs plating four runs against Kohler in the bottom of the frame. The Pirates put up two in the fourth, one in the fifth and then took the lead back in the sixth at 5-4.
Maddi Shields’ RBI double scored Taylor Farr for the go-ahead run, but Grandview tied it in the bottom of the frame. Kohler worked all eight innings and recorded the win despite allowing 10 hits.
Anna Townsend singled in the eighth, and Doll pinch ran, scoring on Kohler’s sacrifice bunt and a Grandview throwing error.