CONCEPTION JUNCTION, Mo. – The Platte Valley softball team came into the season with one of the deepest teams in Class 1 and it showed Tuesday night against the North Harrison Shamrocks. All but two players had a hit and all nine reached base in Platte Valley’s 9-0 win.
“There were lots of good things, lots of good things,” Platte Valley coach Shelly Deen said. “Our bats came alive when they needed to, you know, lots of good things and lots of things we’ll still work on.”
Jessica Miller started on the mound for Platte Valley and had her worst inning of the night in the top of the first. After retiring the leadoff batter on one pitch, the Shamrock’s Carly Rinehart and Emma Craig reached on infield singles. But Miller settled in and struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
“The first inning I always get really nervous and I’ve just always done that,” Miller said. “The second inning is usually calm, cool and collected from there.”
Rinehart retired the first two batters in the bottom of the first, forcing Malia Collins to ground out and Kaylin LaMaster to strike out. Senior Ashley Mattson recorded Platte Valley’s first hit of the season with a single to center field.
Miller walked her only batter of the game in the top of the second. The junior pitcher then forced a groundout to second base to end the inning.
Miller started the bottom of the second with a leadoff double, one of four doubles for Platte Valley in the inning. Sydnee Deen gave the home team its first run of the season with an RBI double, scoring Miller.
The Shamrocks forced Jackie Pappert to ground out to shortstop before allowing Stephanie Turpin to double to center field. Rinehart recorded the second out of the inning with a strikeout, but then allowed an RBI single to Collins.
LaMaster and Mattson hit back-to-back doubles, combining for three RBI and giving Platte Valley a 5-0 lead. North Harrison pulled Rinehart after just one and two-thirds innings. Rinehart allowed five runs on seven hits. Craig came in to relieve Rinehart and retired the first batter she faced, ending the bottom of the second.
“They fell into that groove, they get comfortable and they always like to watch our first batters bat and then we go from there,” Coach Deen said. “They never give up, they encourage each other and that’s what a team is all about.”
Miller was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the third. The Shamrocks looked to avoid any more damage after forcing Sydnee Deen to ground into a double play. But back-to-back singles from Pappert and Turpin gave Platte Valley runners on first and third.
Pappert moved the lead to six after scoring on a wild pitch. Claire Galbraith reached on an error, which also scored Turpin. Platte Valley led 7-0 after three innings.
“I got up there, was a little nervous because I knew she was a good pitcher but there were people on base and we needed to get them in,” Turpin said.
Pappert drove in Kayley Hauber in the bottom of the fourth for Platte Valley’s eighth run of the game. Miller dominated the North Harrison lineup, retiring 11-straight batters from the top of the second to the top of the sixth.
“Jess did a great job on the mound and we played well behind her,” Coach Deen said. “I said we gotta play hard behind our pitcher and I think they did a great job.”
Three-straight walks loaded the bases for Platte Valley in the bottom of the sixth. Turpin drove in her first run of the game on her third hit of the game. It pushed the lead to nine, but it showed that they can hit from anywhere.
“That’s one of our strengths this year, it’s not going to matter who’s batting ninth or who the nine are, I have all the confidence that they’re going to get a hit,” Coach Deen said.
A single was all that the Shamrocks could muster in the top of the seventh. North Harrison had just two batters reach scoring position against Miller and Platte Valley.
Miller pitched seven innings, allowing four hits, one walk and six strikeouts.
“I’m glad to have it under our belt, there is a lot of stress coming into our first game,” Miller said. “Eagleville (North Harrison) has always been a good competitor and to have that under our belt will help us throughout the season.”
Platte Valley finished with 13 hits and six walks. Turpin led the way with three hits, while Collins, LaMaster and Mattson each had two hits at the top of the order.
Platte Valley will host Stewartsville on Tuesday evening at 5 p.m. The Cardinals are 1-0 after their 15-0 win against Northeast Nodaway on Tuesday night.
“As a team we really helped each other out and so we didn’t really have to work through anything that was too tough for our first game,” Miller said.