WESTON, Mo. — Despite allowing a big first inning, West Platte found a way to keep up its dominance over a top rival.
The Bluejays scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth for a 16-6 walkoff victory over North Platte on Wednesday, April 19 at Benner Park in Weston, Mo. The Panthers scored five in the top of the first to take a big early lead but allowed multiple runs in four of six innings in a deflating defeat.
West Platte senior outfielder Alec Carson hit a three-run double to key the sixth inning walkoff, and Connor McNair plated Kyle Tabaka with the winning run on a bunt single.
“We’ve started that way several games now, but we battle back and that was a big win for us; it really was,” West Platte coach Tanner Lawson said.
West Platte couldn’t have started much worse.
Grant Eagen walked the first two batters, and North Platte junior Trevor Lamar singled to load the bases with no outs. Eagen then walked in a run, and Lawson replaced his starter with sophomore Gavin Davis.
On an 0-1 pitch, Garrett Lamar smacked a grand slam over the tallest portion of the left field fence to give North Platte a 5-0 lead. The Panthers then loaded the bases again with no outs but couldn’t extend the lead.
“It was a good first inning,” North Platte coach Grant Tysdahl said. “We wanted to come out and get on them early, stay focused, and I think we did a good job of that.”
West Platte started to crawl back with two runs in the bottom of the first.
McNair walked and eventually scored after a wild pitch, a single and a groundout RBI from freshman Jasper Basel. Davis then scored Phillip Pattison with a single. The Bluejays took the lead for good with five more runs off of North Platte starter Austin Snook in the second.
Tabaka led off with a double and scored on McNair’s double two batters later. Jack Summers closed West Platte within 5-4 with a single, and the tying and go-ahead runs came home on one of five North Platte errors.
Carson forced in the last run of the frame after being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded after Jacob Stubbs came on in relief of Snook, who threw 1 1/3 innings. Stubbs came out in the bottom of the third after giving up three runs on another error and Tabaka’s hit by pitch with the bases loaded and two outs.
“In our system, we have always had the motto of ‘get to the pen, we win,’” Lawson said. “We had a couple times where we had the bases loaded and he brought a new kid in and those are tough situations to come in to so we tried to put a little pressure on.”
Down 10-5, North Platte got one run back on an error in the top of the fourth but didn’t score again.
West Platte’s big final inning started with two outs. Trevor Lamar, the third pitcher for the Panthers, then walked the bases loaded, and Eagen’s infield single kept the rally alive.
Carson followed with his double to left field to make it 14-6, and he scored on the first of back-to-back errors for North Platte to make it 15-6. With two runners on, McNair’s bunt resulted in the walkoff.
North Platte’s pitchers combined to walk 11 and hit five batters with pitches.
“We’re not a team that’s going to come out and get 10, 12 Ks so we’ve got to throw strikes,” Tysdahl said, “and we preach just on making three outs an inning meaning let’s not give up an error that’s the fourth or fifth out. We didn’t have our pitchers’ backs, and West Platte placed the ball pretty well with this wind with a lot of bloopers to the outfield and just put it together.”
Davis ended up allowing just the two runs — only one earned on Garrett Lamar’s home run — and striking out four in six innings. He gave up just one hit after the grand slam but walked four.