Jerod Thomas came up with his second walkoff hit of the season — sort of.
Attempting to lay down a sacrifice bunt, the Platte County senior’s short popup landed in a precarious spot and led to a throwing error that scored the winning run Wednesday, April 13 at Platte County High School. There were no outs at the time, but Park Hill catcher Nate Thompson rushed a throw to third base trying to eliminate the lead runner.
Instead, the throw sailed down the left-field line, and Colton Horn scrambled up and scored the winning run in a 3-2 victory for the Pirates.
“I was glad that (the pitcher) missed it. Let’s put it that way,” Thomas said. “I was doing it for the team, and it worked out.”
The win continued what developed into a four-game winning streak for Platte County entering the Northland Tournament, scheduled for this week.
Park Hill took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second after Horn misplayed a ball in
centerfield resulting in a two-out, two-run double for Thompson off of Platte County starter Grant Carver. Defense ended up enabling Carver to go the distance, allowing five hits and three walks in his complete game effort.
Platte County shortstop Kodee Martin provided a pair of slick backhand plays deep in the hole to end the first and seventh innings, and Horn made up for what he considered a miscue with back-to-back dazzling plays behind his 6-foot-5 right-handed starting pitcher.
“I was just trying to make sure I went to the hard ball and just shaking off the ball I missed earlier in the game,” Horn said.
In the fifth, Carver walked leadoff batter Lucas Youtsey, who went 2-for-3. Tyler Watson came up and lifted a fly ball into shallow center field, and Horn came up, made the catch and fired to first for the double play. Liam Henry, Park Hill’s Arkansas-bound sophomore, then lifted a deep fly ball to the gap in right-center field.
Horn eventually called off a yielding Thomas to make the catch on the run at the warning track, preserving a 2-2 tie.
“I thought I might be able to dive and get it, but I saw Colton had a better read on it, a better angle it,” Thomas said. “And he called me off so I let him take it. He’s really fast; he communicates well. He’s a great teammate.”
In the bottom of the seventh, Park Hill starter Griffin Fletcher hit Horn with a pitch to start the inning. When Thomas laid down his sacrifice bunt, Horn paused but rounded second well and took off for third base.
Fletcher dove to try and catch the ball on the fly, but when it dropped, Thompson fired high to third base.
Horn scampered home as Thomas rounded second base and then chucked his helmet in celebration before leaping into the arms of junior catcher Justin Mitchell. Thomas also had a game-winning RBI single earlier in the season to beat Belton in extra innings.
“We’d been losing some close games, but I think our upcoming schedule will turn around. We’ll put a streak together,” Thomas said.
Thomas also scored a run after walking in the bottom of the second, part of a two-run inning that immediately tied the score after Park Hill took the early lead. Jared Wilson and Mitchell both blooped singles in to score first Thomas and then Dillon Doll with the tying run.
Platte County left the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth after Fletcher intentionally walked Mitchell before striking out Martin looking.
Platte County 12, Winnetonka 2
Mitchell and Austin Gammill each homered Friday, April 15 at Winnetonka High School in Kansas City, Mo. in the Pirates fourth straight win, running their record to 8-5.
Gammill ended up with three extra-base hits, also providing an RBI double in a seven-run fifth inning. Mitchell started the frame with a two-run home run, and Horn and Gammill followed with run-scoring doubles. Dillon Doll scored Gammill with a single, and Max Hunter finished the onslaught with a two-run single.
Up 8-2, Platte County increased its lead in the top of the seventh on Gammill’s solo home run and an RBI double for Hunter to score Doll. Gammill finished 4-for-4, while Mitchell, Doll and Hunter collected three hits apiece, helping the Pirates improve to 9-5 overall and 4-0 in Suburban Conference Blue Division play.