Timely hitting backs Park Hill South's Thigpen in win over Park Hill

RIVERSIDE, Mo. — Park Hill South batters showed little patience yet ended up yielding enough results for a win.

In the first rivalry matchup of the season with Park Hill on Friday, April 15, the Panthers recorded outs on the first pitch 11 times but ended up with a 3-1 win with three runs on four hits off of Trojans starter Chris Bolte, who threw only 65 pitches in a complete game loss. Jacob Thigpen allowed one run in the seventh inning but ultimately finished off the game, which lasted little more than an hour at Park Hill South High School.

Park Hill South improved to 8-6 overall and 3-1 in Suburban Conference Red Division play, now 5-1 in the last six games overall.

“We have a lot of confidence,” said Thigpen, who struck out eight while allowing five hits and a walk. “We fought back from 3-5 to now we’re 8-6. We’re hitting the ball pretty well. Sometimes the hits don’t fall, but we’re getting the runs we need.”

Three of Park Hill South’s hits came in a two-run fourth inning.

Ryan Hagen started a rally with a two-out single, and Colin Farrow followed with an RBI triple to center field. He scored one batter later to make it 3-0 for the Panthers on Malik Stevenson’s double to right-center. The hits came from the 6-7-8 batters in the lineup.

Thigpen retired the next six batters before a leadoff walk to Liam Henry in the seventh resulted in Conner Morehouse’s sacrifice fly to score the Trojans’ lone run.

“I hit my spots pretty well,” said Thigpen, who stranded Lucas Youtsey at third in the third inning after a leadoff triple. “My defense did a great job fielding. I just trusted them threw strikes and let them hit the ball.”

Park Hill South’s first run came on Bolte’s second walk, which started the second inning.

Andrew Aswegan then moved to second to a ground ball, went to third on Farrow’s single and scored on Stevenson’s RBI single. The top four hitters in the Panthers’ lineup combined to go 0-for-10 with a walk and hit by pitch.

“Our two out hitting was pretty spot on tonight,” Park Hill South coach Josh Walker said. “The kid kept us off balance and they played good defense behind him but I think we did a good job capitalizing.”

Youtsey represented the tying run in the third but Tyler Watson flew out with an 0-2 count on the seventh pitch of his at bat with Thigpen. Henry and Preston Cross both singled in the fourth, but Ryan Callahan threw out both trying to steal.

Henry’s walk created the next baserunner against Thigpen, who then allowed a single to Cross. The Trojans final three batters went down in order, including one of Thigpen’s eight strikeouts.

“I was very impressed by both starting pitchers,” Park Hill coach Greg Reynolds said. “Both teams were looking for fastballs early in the count. Both kids were throwing strikes. We were jumping on it. We hit the ball decent. We’ve lost two or three games like that where I wasn’t disappointed in the way we hit. 

“We just didn’t get the key hit at the key time. Those things will cost you when it comes to a one- or two-run game.”

Both teams were scheduled to begin the Northland Tournament on Tuesday, April 19, but the results were not available at The Citizen’s deadline. 

St. Joseph Central 6, Park Hill South 1

The Panthers’ four-game win streak came to an end Tuesday, April 12 in a Red Division loss at Park Hill South High School in Riverside, Mo.

After four scoreless innings for both teams, Central scored three runs on three straight hits and two walks off of starter Ryan Hagen, who went six innings with three strikeouts. James Gomes gave up three more in the seventh during his lone inning of relief for the Panthers.

Park Hill South managed just five hits — all singles — but cut the lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth on Andrew Aswegan’s RBI single scoring Jake Kline, who reached with a one-out single. The Panthers had three hits in the inning and left the bases loaded.

Only one batter reached in the seventh on an error for Park Hill South, but two strikeouts and a groundout ended the game.