Platte County senior Daunte Alaiwat hits a forehand in a singles match against St. Joseph Central on Wednesday at Platte County High School.

Platte County captures 2nd conference title with tight win over Kearney

Singles wins from Beeson, Escamilla, Railsback wrap up dual for Pirates, who also likely earned the No. 1 seed in the Class 3 District 8.
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Platte County junior Austin Vanek hits a shot during a singles match against St. Joseph Central on Wednesday at Platte County High School.

The final score made the result seem dramatic.

In reality, Platte County took the first three singles matches Thursday at Kearney High School to lock up a victory and just the second Suburban Conference Blue Division title in school history. The Pirates then held on for a 5-4 win over Kearney to improve to 5-2 overall in duals.

Platte County senior Emilio Escamilla put the Pirates up 3-1 with a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 5 singles, and senior Bradley Beeson soon followed with a 6-4, 7-6 win at No. 4, narrowly avoiding a potentially troublesome third set. Tony Railsback, another senior in the Pirates’ lineup, then took a 6-4, 6-3 decision at No. 6 to make it 5-1.

Kearney won the singles matches at Nos. 1, 2 and 3 but had already lost the dual at that point. Platte County freshman Gavin Nichols nearly came up with another win at No. 2, taking the first set but dropping the next two.

The win to turn the dual ended up coming in doubles.

ROSS MARTIN/PC Preps Extra
Platte County senior Tony Railsback hit a backhand in a doubles match against Central on Wednesday at Platte County High School.

Beeson and Railsback were dominant in an 8-0 win at No. 3, part of an early split of lopsided matches. Platte County senior and No. 1 singles player Austin Vanek teamed with Escamilla at No. 2, and the duo took a 5-0 lead. However, Kearney came back with six straight, and the Pirates ultimately prevailed 9-8 (7-4) in a tiebreaker.

Platte County returns to action Thursday for its Blue Division finale against Winnetonka. There are just three schools fielding a team in the conference with Grandview, Raytown South, Ruskin and Smithville either short on numbers or not sponsoring the sport.

After some early tweaks, Platte County seems to have settled on its doubles lineup. Vanek, a junior and the only player back from the Pirates’ last season in 2019, continues to pair with Escamillia, while freshman No. 2 Gavin Nichols and No. 3 senior Daunte Alaiwat have become the No. 1 pairing.

St. Joseph Central 6, Platte County 3

ROSS MARTIN/PC Preps Extra
Platte County senior Bradley Beeson prepares to hit a serve during a doubles match against St. Joseph Central on Wednesday at Platte County High School.

The Pirates’ three-dual winning streak ended Wednesday at Platte County High School.

Central took two of three doubles matches and four of six singles matches in a competitive nonconference meeting between the two schools. The Indians now trail the all-time series between the two schools 5-3.

Railsback and Beeson won the No. 3 doubles match 8-5, closing out the match in a lengthy 13th game. Alaiwat won in three sets at No. 3 singles, while Railsback swept his No. 6 match. Escamilla rallied from a difficult doubles match and lost in three sets at No. 5.

Platte County hadn’t lost in two weeks since a defeat against Liberty North. Both losses for the Pirates have come against larger schools, and the victory over Kearney likely wraps up the No. 1 seed in Class 3 District 8 with the state expanding to four classifications for tennis.

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