Platte County sophomore Brennan McLaughlin delivers a pitch against Lee's Summit North on Wednesday at Platte County High School. TODD NUGENT/PC Preps Extra

Platte County surges back to .500 as win streak hits 5

Trio of pitchers combine to shut down Lee’s Summit West, Lee’s Summit North as momentum builds for Pirates.

The confidence continues to grow, and after evening up the overall record through 16 games, Platte County seems to have unlocked the combination to the roster’s obvious potential.

Platte County senior Isaiah Smith delivers a pitch against Lee’s Summit North on Wednesday at Platte County High School.

Utilizing an intentionally specific approach to utilizing the top pitchers, Platte County pulled a nonconference sweep of Lee’s Summit and Lee’s Summit North in home games Monday and Wednesday evening at Platte County High School — the latter a mostly clean 5-2 victory that pushed the Pirates to 8-8 overall. Platte County senior lefty Isaiah Smith started both games, and sophomore Brennan McLaughlin went to the mound from the infield for the majority of the relief innings to help run the Pirates’ win streak to five overall.

Against Lee’s Summit North, Platte County stretched out the pitch counts for that duo with an indication that Smith and McLaughlin will team with senior Brayden Carter as the leading trio of pitchers down the stretch.

Smith scattered four hits over 3 2/3 innings with two strikeouts before exiting in the fourth inning after an error put a runner on base. McLaughlin came on and ended the inning with the first of his four strikeouts and went on to allow two runs — only one earned — after allowing three hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings of work.

Platte County never trailed, and two errors were the only real negatives of another dominant performance. After Smith retired the side in order on three straight groundballs in the top of the first, the Pirates took a 1-0 lead after junior designated hitter Liam Blacklock led off with a single, went to second on a sacrifice bunt, stole third and scored on sophomore right fielder Rocco Marriott’s sacrifice fly.

Platte County junior Liam Blacklock takes a swing against Lee’s Summit North on Wednesday at Platte County High School.

Blacklock finished 3-for-4 and contributed another single in a three-run second.

McLaughlin, who continues to start at third base after shifting over from shortstop in an adjusted defensive alignment, led off with a walk, and senior first baseman Brian Chandler followed with a single. McLaughlin advanced to third on the hit, and Lee’s Summit North let Chandler take second without a throw, allowing senior catcher Tyler Stearns to single both home.

Blacklock’s one-out single set up junior second baseman Taylor Stambersky’s sacrifice fly.

Both of Lee’s Summit North’s runs came in the top of the fifth, but Platte County answered back in the bottom half of the frame. Devin Wassmann, the senior center fielder, blasted a triple down the right field line with one out and came home on a sacrifice fly from McLaughlin. The Pirates finished with 10 hits but had only two extra-base hits while drawing four walks — two from junior shortstop Dayton Doll. Blacklock finished his day with a double in the seventh, and walks from Doll and Marriott loaded the bases with two outs.

Lee’s Summit North held and went in to the bottom of the seventh down three but could manage only a two-out walk in the final time at-bat against McLaughlin.

Platte County senior Devin Wassmann slides into third base with a triple against Lee’s Summit North on Wednesday at Platte County High School.

Platte County takes the five-game winning streak into Monday’s road game at Blue Springs and then also travels to Belton on Wednesday and Staley on Thursday before returning home for a Friday matchup with Central (St. Joseph). The Pirates will again likely have to explore the depth of the pitching staff with back-to-back weeks playing four games in spans of five days.

Platte County 7, Lee’s Summit West 2

McLaughlin put up a breakout offensive game with three hits, including a home run, while driving in two and scoring two in the Pirates’ win Monday at Platte County High School.

Chandler added a triple and three RBIs with Platte County scoring six in the bottom of the first to take a commanding lead that held up behind Smith, McLaughlin and Carter, who pitched the final 2 2/3 innings with four strikeouts. The Pirates used a pitching plan of limiting Smith (2 1/3 innings) and McLaughlin (two innings) to nine batters and letting Carter finish the game.

The trio combined for six strikeouts and scattered six hits — all singles.

Platte County senior first baseman Brian Chandler takes a throw at first base against Lee’s Summit North on Wednesday at Platte County High School.

McLaughlin also walked two and gave up a run in the top of the fourth, but Platte County went up 7-1 on his one-out solo shot to right field in the bottom of the fifth. Carter gave up four of the hits and a single run in the sixth before working around a one-out single in the seventh to finish out the win.

Platte County sent 11 to the plate in the first inning, starting with a walk from Stambersky and Doll’s single to center. Marriott plated the first run with an RBI single, and Wassmann followed with a walk to load the bases. After an RBI single from McLaughlin put the Pirates up 2-0, Chandler cleared the bases with a triple to right field. He scored on a sacrifice fly from junior outfielder Bronson Ryan.

After the six-run first, Platte County’s only hits prior to McLaughlin’s home run were a pair of two-out singles from Wassmann and McLaughlin in a scoreless second.

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