With a roster filled with inexperience, young players, Platte County swept its pool games in the Greater Kansas City Classic on Saturday, Aug. 20, advancing to the 24 team tournament’s championship Gold Bracket.
The Pirates were scheduled to play Oak Park in a first round matchup against Oak Park on Tuesday, Aug. 23 with the semifinal and consolation games scheduled for later in the day. Results were not available at The Citizen’s deadline.
Regardless, the tournament should already be a success with 24 freshmen and sophomores on the Platte County roster out of 28 players.
Only three starters returned from last year’s Class 3 District 15 runnerup, but the new-look Pirates beat Park Hill 5-1 and Smithville 6-3 to take the top spot in Pool G. Gracie Erickson, a freshman, pitched the two games and earned wins in her varsity debut.
Against Park Hill, Erickson allowed just four hits and three walks while striking out four.
Shayla Kohler gave Platte County a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with an RBI single to score senior catcher Anna Townsend, who led off with a single. The Pirates put four runners on in the inning but only managed the one run.
The lead expanded to 4-0 in the third when a walk and an error kickstarted a rally.
Paige Roche led off with a walk against Park Hill starter Peyton Morehouse and went to second with a stolen base. Lauren Magee, a senior, then reached on a throwing error, which allowed Roche to score and put the Pirates first baseman in scoring position.
Magee moved to third on a sacrifice fly and scored on Townsend’s one-out single.
Kohler, a sophomore, plated Townsend from third with a two-out single to center field. Erickson scored the final run in the fourth after reaching on another error and coming around on Magee’s two-out double.
Park Hill briefly threatened in the top of the fourth after trailing by four.
Jose Heckman led off with a single and stole second, scoring on Morehouse’s one-out double. The Trojans put two more on in the inning but with Morehouse thrown out at third on a fielder’s choice, they didn’t come up with a needed hit.
Erickson stranded the bases loaded in the fifth to keep the lead.
Against Smithville in a rematch of last year’s district title game, Erickson scattered 13 hits, and Platte County scored four in the bottom of the fourth inning to break a 2-2 tie. The Pirates held a 2-0 lead after the third with Townsend scoring senior shortstop Tori Farr with a single in the inning.
Smithville grabbed the two runs right back, but the Pirates stuck for four more in the fourth to take the lead for good.
Platte County managed only eight hits total — all singles — but Townsend drove in three on a pair of singles. Taylor Farr and Paige Rocha also had RBIs in the victory.
Park Hill went 0-2 in pool play and dropped into the Bronze Bracket, while still showing progress after a difficult four-win season in 2015. Last year, the Trojans lost all five games in the Greater KC Classic, including three by 12 or more runs and two by 15-0 scores.
Following the loss to Platte County, Park Hill struck for a run against Smithville in the first inning but never led in a 4-1 loss.
Smithville scored in the first after a leadoff walk from Morehouse to go up 1-0, but an error from the Warriors helped level the score in the bottom half of the frame. Heckman reached on a single and went to third on a two-base error before coming home on a passed ball.
Park Hill stranded two runners in scoring position in the third and stranded two more — one at second base — in the fifth with chances to go ahead. Smithville scored an unearned run in the sixth and two more runs — one unearned in the seventh to take the win.
In the final two innings, Park Hill committed three errors.