West Platte baseball's winning streak comes to abrupt end in doubleheader

PLATTSBURG, Mo. — West Platte’s winning streak came to an abrupt end in a KCI Conference doubleheader last week.

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo West Platte sophomore Noah Johnson makes contact with a pitch during game one of a doubleheader with Plattsburg on Thursday, April 27 in Plattsburg, Mo.

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo
West Platte sophomore Noah Johnson makes contact with a pitch during game one of a doubleheader with Plattsburg on Thursday, April 27 in Plattsburg, Mo.

Plattsburg swept two games on Thursday, April 27 after the teams agreed to play both league contests on one afternoon in Plattsburg, Mo. The rebuilding Bluejays came in with wins in four straight to go above .500 but left at 6-6 after squeezing the doubleheader in ahead of forecasted rain.

After beating North Platte twice in KCI play sandwiched around a doubleheader sweep of St. Joseph Christian and Dekalb, West Platte coach Tanner Lawson hoped his youthful roster was starting to show improvements. 

“Yeah, until tonight,” he said. “Our pitching hasn’t been good all year with a lot of walks and tonight I thought my young kids pitched well. I was happy with all of them and then our defense fell apart so we still need to put it all together.”

Plattsburg won the opener 3-0, holding West Platte to just two hits.

The best scoring opportunity for the Bluejays came in the top of the sixth inning after a one out walk to senior Connor McNair followed by a single from freshman Phillip Pattison to put runners at the corners. However, Plattsburg ace Tanner Sims recorded a strikeout and induced a flyout to end the threat.

West Platte went down in order in the seventh on three straight groundouts.

An error in the bottom of the first inning helped Plattsburg score its second run, and the Tigers added a third in the fifth on the Bluejays’ second error. Wyatt Kleman threw four innings with four strikeouts after his tough first inning, while Noah Johnson gave up just one hit and two walks in his two innings of relief.

“We could have used some good timely hits, could have made some timely plays at least made it closer when they scored three runs the first game — two unearned. It just wasn’t our best showing,” Lawson said.

West Platte played its first league games since the tragic death of the school’s beloved football and wrestling coach Nate Danneman the previous week. He died in a four-vehicle accident on Interstate 29, leading to a postponed game before playing the doubleheader with Christian and DeKalb.

Many on the roster played for Danneman in football, and the emotional trials continued when Plattsburg held a moment of silence in between games in his honor.

“It’s been a rough, emotional week, but I think the best is to get them back to a routine and go from there,” said Lawson, who served as an assistant on Danneman’s football staff along with baseball assistant Mitch Giger. “If it was me, Nate would know I’d want the boys to keep going and get them in their routine. Nate wanted all the programs to succeed, and he wouldn’t want us to slow anything down on his account. But we paid our due respects, and we’re still dragging. And I’m not going to blame the losses on that, but we’re still not fully healed.

“We’ll never be healed.”

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo West Platte senior second baseman Connor McNair dives to try and stop a ground ball during a doubleheader with Plattsburg on Thursday, April 27 in Plattsburg, Mo.

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo
West Platte senior second baseman Connor McNair dives to try and stop a ground ball during a doubleheader with Plattsburg on Thursday, April 27 in Plattsburg, Mo.

Plattsburg 13, West Platte 2, 5 innings

The Bluejays struggles continued in the second game Thursday, April 27 in Plattsburg, Mo.

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo West Platte freshman Nathan Plummer catches a fly ball in right field during a doubleheader with Plattsburg on Thursday, April 27 in Plattsburg, Mo. 

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo
West Platte freshman Nathan Plummer catches a fly ball in right field during a doubleheader with Plattsburg on Thursday, April 27 in Plattsburg, Mo. 

Plattsburg scored eight unearned runs, making the most of 10 hits against starter Nathan Plummer and Johnson and Ryan Borylo in relief. The Bluejays committed six errors behind them, including a pair in a disastrous first inning.

Two hits and a pair of errors on misplayed fly balls led to three runs for Plattsburg in the first inning, and Plummer ended up allowing five unearned runs in 1 1/3 innings. The Tigers scored in each inning and never trailed.

West Platte again managed only two hits but also worked five walks, scoring single runs in the bottom of the third and fourth, playing as the home team.

Alec Carson walked to lead off the third for West Platte’s first baserunner. He came home two batters later on a wild pitch. In the fifth, freshman Jasper Basel doubled, and senior Jack Summers reached on an infield single.

Plattsburg kept the runners on base with two straight outs before Carson and Kyle Tabaka walked to bring home the final run. Down 9-2, West Platte gave up four in the top of the fifth to put the mercy rule in play, and the Bluejays stranded two runners in the bottom half of the frame, unable to extend the game.

West Platte 16, North Platte 11

The second matchup between rivals in a week was just as wild as the first.

West Platte scored in six of seven innings and never trailed Tuesday, April 25 at Dean Park in Dearborn, Mo. North Platte tied the score at 8-8 in the bottom of the third, but the Bluejays immediately answered for five and held on from there.

North Platte scored in five of seven innings, even plating two with a late rally in the bottom of the seventh.

Ten of West Platte’s 11 hits were singles, but Summers drove in three, while McNair and Pattison combined to score seven times from the top two spots in the batting order. North Platte used two pitchers in the first inning with Hunter Oliver and Garrett Lamar combining to give up four runs — one each on a single for Gavin Davis and a bases-loaded walk for Carson.

Lamar’s two-run single in the bottom of the first cut the lead in half.

Basel’s double — the lone extra-base hit for West Platte — plated one of two runs in the second after McNair and Pattison started the inning with back-to-back singles. Basel scored on Carson’s second bases-loaded walk in as many innings — this one against reliever Jacob Stubbs.

In the bottom of the second, North Platte closed within 7-6 after Remington Wilson hit a two-run, two-out double to left field. 

West Platte led 8-6 after the top of the third with Davis going to the mound in relief of junior Grant Eagen. Davis issued a walk to Stubbs and then gave up a single to Mark Fisher, and both runners came home on the same at-bat to tie the score at 8-8 after a wild pitch and then freshman Blake Gibson’s run-scoring ground out.

Oliver walked with two outs, but North Platte stranded him as the potential go-ahead run.
West Platte’s five-run top of the fourth started with an error. Runs came home on Truman Gillis’ groundout for the second out, and RBI singles for McNair and Summers with two outs.

After McNair’s single to center, Pattison and Basel walked before Summers hit a two-run single. Basel scored the final run on a wild pitch.

West Platte led 15-8 after five and 16-9 after six. Gibson hit a two-run single with two outs in the seventh, but North Platte couldn’t get the potential tying run to the plate, leaving the bases loaded while down five.