In three standout seasons, Halle Magee had just one home run to her credit prior to this week. Not only did the senior shortstop significantly add to her career total this week but she also came up with one of the most clutch hits for the Pirates in recent years.
Magee’s one-out solo home run in the top of the eighth became Platte County’s winning run in a 2-1 extra-inning victory over rival Smithville on Tuesday. The win not only avenged a prior loss but put the Pirates into position to share the Suburban Conference Blue Division title and compete for the top seed in the upcoming Class 4 District 8 tournament.
“We were all hyped, and we fought so hard for that game. It was just amazing to hit that home run in the top of the eight inning,” said Magee, who hit four home runs in four games spread over three days in a busy week for Platte County — one in each half of a doubleheader sweep over Winnetonka on Monday, the game-winner against Smithville and another inning game-winner in a nonconference win over Staley on Wednesday.
Magee’s home run gave Platte County a 2-1 lead and put sophomore starting pitcher Mackenzie Shields in line for the win.
However, Smithville immediately put the tying and winning runs on base in the bottom of the eighth, forcing Pirates coach Callie Beaver to make a difficult choice. She immediately brought in senior ace Emma Koeneke with runners on first and second. Koeneke needed just three pitches to record a strikeout, three more to induce a popup to first base and one more to get a groundout back to her for the final out.
“I don’t think we had to get refocused,” Magee said. “Our energy was up higher than Smithville’s and that’s what helped (get through the bottom of the eighth).”
Beaver opted to start Shields in the second Blue Division meeting between the two teams to limit Smithville’s opportunities to see Koeneke with a potential third matchup looming in the postseason. Shields actually took a no-hitter into the eighth but gave up a run in the bottom of the first on a one-out walk, a passed ball and one of Platte County’s two errors.
Shields struck out four and walked only two — the second to start the eighth inning — in seven-plus innings, displaying a strong changeup that baffled Smithville’s lineup most of the night. The Warriors won the first meeting between the two teams 5-0 about two weeks earlier.
“(Shields) pitched really well,” Magee said. “The changeup she had helped a lot, helped change her speed and throw them off balance. (The first run) was early in the game, so we weren’t really worried. We had to earn at least one run to beat Smithville so we weren’t worried.”
The loss to Smithville remains the only one for Platte County (15-1) this season. The Pirates came up with just three hits total in the win over Smithville with the top of the fifth accounting for the first part of the comeback.
Platte County senior outfielder Maddie Carter led off the inning with a triple to left field and senior third baseman Ana Cesaro scored her with an RBI squeeze bunt to tie the score at 1-1. Shields worked around another error and a walk in the bottom of the fifth to help keep the score tied, and the game eventually reached extra innings.
Magee hits leadoff and came up with one out in the top of the first extra inning. She worked a full count against Smithville pitcher Makayla Carr, fouling off two pitches before hitting the third of her four home runs on the season.
Platte County went 5-0 this week with games spread across four days. That concluded with Thursday’s senior day celebration after a 16-0 win over Grandview at Platte County High School. The Pirates honored six senior starters — Carter, Cesaro, Grace Heater, Hayden Humes, Koeneke and Magee.
Platte County 16, Winnetonka 0; Platte County 18, Winnetonka 1
The Pirates picked up a pair of three-inning wins in a home doubleheader played Monday at Platte County High School.
Magee led off the first game with a single and scored on Heater’s double two batters later, part of a 10-run first. Carter had an RBI triple in the first, and Magee added a two-run home run in the second.
Chloe Helmer, a junior, pitched and allowed only two hits and one walk in three innings, while striking out five to earn the win for Platte County. Shields pitched the second game and struck out six, while allowing only one run in the top of the first.
Briefly down 1-0, Platte County scored 14 in the bottom of the first with Magee hitting a leadoff home run. Pirates sophomore first baseman TK Lawson had an RBI single, while Magee later added a three-run double.
Platte County 12, Staley 7, 8 innings
The Pirates were uncharacteristically sloppy in the nonconference win Wednesday — one day after the highlight dramatics against Smithville.
For the third time in four games, Platte County trailed 1-0 in the first inning, and after allowing five runs in the bottom of the seven, the Pirates needed a five-run eighth to escape with the win. Koeneke gave up seven runs but none were earned due to six errors, and she struck out nine in eight innings, working around back-to-back singles with no outs in the bottom of the extra inning to close out the win.
Magee again provided the go-ahead run, leading off the top of the eighth with a home run. Carter followed with a single, and Heater and Lawson walked to load the bases. A pair of fielder’s choices increased the lead to 10-7, and Cesaro capped the rally with a two-out, two-run single. Heater, Lawson, sophomore Abby Reynolds and Cesaro had two RBIs apiece, but 11 of the Pirates’ 12 hits were singles.
Carter scored three runs.
Platte County 16, Grandview 0
The Pirates made quick work of another Blue Division foe on senior day Thursday afternoon.
Magee and Carter both scored three runs, while Heater, Lawson and Koeneke crossed the plate twice each for Platte County. Koeneke went 3-for-3 with four RBIs. Carter had an RBI triple in the first for the Pirates’ first run, and three batters later, Koeneke’s two-run double made it 4-0, and an RBI double later in the inning made it 110.
Cesaro then followed with a two-run triple to complete Platte County’s 13-run first.