By Dustin Henggeler
Platte Valley sophomore Kaylin LaMaster had her hands in four of the five runs the Eagles collected in their 5-3 win over the North Harrison Shamrocks August 22 at Conception Jct.
The early-season win was their regular season opener, moving the team to 2-3 after tournament play over the weekend.
Platte Valley Coach Shelly Deen couldn’t have been happier with the sophomore, almost waiting for LaMaster to have a game like this.
“She grew so much as a freshman last year,” Deen said. “I knew she was capable of great hits like tonight; she just needs a little confidence.”
Almost in disbelief at her own performance, LaMaster didn’t think her smashed ball, which cleared the left field fence, was going to be a home run.
“It felt like it was a good hit,” LaMaster said of her sixth inning connection with the pitch. “I just didn’t think it was going to be a home run.”
LaMaster added that her first career homer was a confidence booster and loved the feeling of rounding the bases only to be met by her teammates at home plate.
Her other two runs came in the second inning when the Eagles hit a hot streak after both teams went scoreless in the first inning.
Making the most of early errors while the Shamrocks seemed unsettled defensively, LaMaster earned a single off an infield hit overthrown at first. A few plays later, she found herself on third, stealing home on a wild pitch to put Platte Valley up 2-0. The very next at-bat was an RBI single by Vanessa Pappert, who also reached first because of an overthrown pitch.
The 3-0 lead for the Eagles carried into the fourth inning when the Shamrocks chipped away by a single run. That lead held until the Shamrocks doubled their score in the top of the sixth, seeming more settled while the Eagles found it difficult to carry the momentum they maintained so early in the game.
That was until the bottom of the sixth when LaMaster’s two-run homer boosted the Eagles to a 5-2 lead. All this comes in a game where Deen knew North Harrison’s stacked pitching could spell trouble for her team.
“I just told the girls that we’ve seen some fantastic pitching already this season and to just get out there and put the ball in play,” Deen said. “When you do that, things just happen and I thought we were able to do that tonight.”
Holding the Shamrocks to a single run in the top of the seventh, the Eagles held on for the 5-3 win.
Deen said she was pleased with how the girls performed, even as North Harrison settled in and closed the gap as the game continued.
“The girls from these two schools have come together so well for me this season and they’ve worked well together,” Deen said. “Most importantly, they just believe in each other and no one is going to get riled up too much. They’re just going to stay down and play their game.”
For more photos, see the printed Nodaway News Leader.