Despite losing three key seniors, Rob Davenport doesn’t expect Platte County to take any steps back this year.
In fact, the Pirates coach returns six starters in the field and adds in a deep freshman class with potential talent. He expects freshmen Maddie Carter (shortstop), Ana Cesaro (second base) and Halle Magee (catcher) to take over three very important spots in the field.
“I think we have quality replacements,” Davenport said. “I’m not as concerned about it as I was when the season ended last year.”
Platte County went 15-12 a season ago, losing to Smithville in the Class 3 District 15 title game for a second straight season. The Pirates have been to the district final for three straight years, including a run to the 2014 Class 3 state championship game.
Despite some uncertainty a year ago, Platte County again thrived behind seniors Tori Farr (shortstop), Anna Townsend (catcher) and Lauren Magee (second/first base).
However, sophomore Paige Rocha returns at third base after batting leadoff as a freshman with a .459 on-base percentage and 18 extra-base hits — three home runs. Shayla Kohler, a junior who spent much of last season on the mound due to an injury to Gracie Erickson, will be at first base, while juniors Taylor Farr, Janessa Barmann and Stephanie Carroll return from last year’s outfield.
Platte County will have zero seniors on this year’s roster, and Davenport also expects freshmen Hayden Humes and Emma Koeneke to contribute.
“We’re really young, so I think that’s encouraging for the future,” Davenport said. “But we expect to be competitive this year.”
Erickson returns after missing part of last season with a hand injury. She established herself as the No. 1 pitching option in her first season and finished 10-8 with one save in 22 appearances, posting a 4.48 ERA.
While the defense and pitching appear set, the lineup will be more of a mystery. Tori Farr, Townsend and Barmann comprised the middle of the Pirates’ order last year with Farr earning all-state honors with a .500 batting average, 39 hits and 33 runs scored.
Kohler hit .282 a year ago, while Erickson was at .280.
“We’re pretty athletic,” Davenport said. “I don’t know about hitting. We lost those bats, so we’ll see what happens there, and that’s one of the places where freshmen take a little time to adjust.”