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Pirates win state baseball championship

by Tad Brewer
Landmark reporter

The Platte County Pirate baseball team became the third sports team of the year to bring home a state championship. The Pirates brought home their first-ever baseball Class 3A state championship.

The Pirates won the baseball championship in decisive fashion by defeating Ozark 10-3 in the semifinals and then annihilating St. Mary’s from St. Louis 19-1 in the championship game.

In the championship game, Platte County was able to break records left and right, including the most runs scored by a Class 3A baseball team in the championship. The Pirates were only two runs away from scoring the most runs ever in any baseball championship game.

In the semifinal game against the then 21-8 overall Ozark team, the Pirates, who were 22-3 entering the game, sent undefeated senior Trevor Clay to the mound to pitch. Clay dominated almost the entire game against Ozark and remained practically flawless throughout. In the top of the first inning, Clay, along with the Pirate defense, shut down Ozark and did not allow any hits or walks.

In the bottom of the first inning, the Pirates came to bat and appeared to be in good shape for a while. Clay shot a one out double down the right field line, putting a runner in scoring position early on for the Pirates. After the hit by Clay, sophomore Jake Blackwood drew a walk and gave the Pirates runners on first and second with only one out. Senior Tyler Warner then hit a sacrifice fly to advance a runner to third with two outs. Before the runner could score from third for the Pirates, Blackwood was caught stealing to end the inning.

The second inning passed relatively quietly as neither team was able to score again and the game remained to be open for the taking, tied 0-0.

In the top of the third inning, Ozark became the first team to get on the scoreboard. Ozark broke its hitless slump that they had been in when one of their batters recorded a two out single off of Clay. That runner then went on to steal second and then advanced to third on a passed ball. The runner eventually scored off of a single into right field. The run was unearned by Clay, but Ozark had jumped out on top of Platte County with a 1-0 lead.

The Pirates quickly responded to the early run scored by Ozark as the Pirates would take the lead for good while batting in the bottom of the third inning.

The inning began with sophomore Ryan Weedin drawing a walk. After two outs took place, Weedin was able to advance to second base. Weedin went on to score and tie the game up on an RBI single by Blackwood. Warner advanced Blackwood to third with a single down the left field line. Blackwood then scored and Warner was allowed to advance to second after a balk by the pitcher, making the new score 2-1. Warner went on to score the third and final run of the inning on a single to center field by junior Cory Williams.

Ozark was not able to gain any ground on the Pirates in the fourth inning, as they did not score and the Pirates held on to their 3-1 lead.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Pirates pounded seven runs on five hits to take a 10-1 lead as the game moved into the fifth inning.

Clay again held Ozark scoreless in the top of the fifth. The Pirates were not able to close out the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, as all they needed was to score one run to win by the ten-run spread rule.

Both teams went through the sixth inning as they did in the fifth as neither team was again able to score and the Pirates were still unable to score the one run that they needed to spread Ozark in six innings.

As the game entered the final inning, the top of the seventh, Ozark needed seven runs just to tie the game. The Pirates took Clay out of the game, to conserve him for the championship game if he would be needed, and put senior Aaron Pryor in to pitch the final inning.

Pryor gave up two runs on two hits, but the Pirates were able to hold Ozark off and win by a final score of 10-3. Statistically, the Pirates finished the game with 11 hits and one error while Ozark had four hits and no errors. This win meant that the Pirates would be advancing to play in their first ever baseball state championship game against St. Mary’s from St. Louis.

Clay recorded his ninth win of the season against Ozark by pitching six innings and giving up two hits and a walk, while striking out two and allowing one unearned run to score. Pryor gave up two earned runs, two hits, and a walk in his one inning of work.
The Pirates were led by the bats of Blackwood, who had two hits, an RBI, and two runs scored; Pryor who had two hits, a walk, two RBIs, and a run scored; and by Williams who had two hits, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored.

Senior pitcher Tyler Shaw took the mound for the Pirates in the 3A state championship game. Entering the ballgame, Shaw had an overall record of 6-1 on the season. Shaw was able to get St. Mary’s in order in the top of the first inning, preventing them from taking an early lead over the Pirates.

In the bottom of the first inning, the Pirate offense erupted and jumped out to have a ten-run first inning. This broke the previous state championship record of most runs in a single inning by a team, which had been nine runs. The Pirates scored their ten runs off of only five hits. The starting pitcher from St. Mary’s only lasted a third of an inning despite facing ten different Pirate batters. The Pirate offense was also helped by the St. Mary’s defense, which committed two errors.

In the top of the second inning, Shaw again was able to get the St. Mary’s batters out in order and did not give up any runs or hits and prevented them from digging into the Pirates ten run lead.

In the bottom of the second inning, the Pirate offense started much the same as they had in the first inning.

The Pirates again ripped apart the St. Mary’s pitching, recording hits and scoring runs left and right. The Pirates went on to score nine runs in the inning off of nine hits. By scoring nine runs in this inning, this gave the Pirates the most runs scored in a championship game by a Class 3A baseball team, and put them only one run back from the all-time most runs scored in a championship game by St. Elizabeth in 1995. The St. Mary’s defense also committed two more errors in this inning.

St. Mary’s was finally able to break their scoreless streak in the third inning after they began the inning by having a batter reach base on an error by the Pirates. This runner eventually advanced to second on a wild pitch and advanced again on a fielder’s choice. He then scored off of another wild pitch. That would eventually be the only run that would score for St. Mary’s. This run was unearned for Tyler Shaw, and although he did not have a perfect game going for him, he still was holding on to a no hitter.
Neither team scored any more runs after the top of the third took place. The Pirates eventually spread St. Mary’s by a final score of 19-1 in just five innings. For just the fourth time in championship game history, a no hitter was thrown, this time by the Pirate pitcher Tyler Shaw.

This no hitter improved Shaw’s overall record on the season to 7-1 and the Pirates' final record on the season to 24-3.

Shaw pitched the complete five innings for the Pirates, allowing no hits, four walks, and no earned runs, while striking out four batters. The Pirates recorded 13 hits and no errors compared to no hits and four errors by St. Mary’s.

Offensively, the Pirates were led in part by a whole slew of batters. Senior Dusty Hylton had a record tying three hits, a walk, three RBIs, and three runs scored. Clay had two hits, a walk, three RBIs, and three runs scored. Sophomore Jeremy Wilson had two hits, a walk, three RBIs, and two runs scored. Weedin had two hits, two RBIs, and two runs scored.

Although the Pirates are losing several players to graduation, they will attempt to again repeat and defend their title as state champions next baseball season.