The Blue Springs South baseball team is undefeated this season – except when it plays Lee’s Summit.
It was a close game for the first three innings, but the Lee’s Summit bats erupted late as they claimed a mercy-rule 12-2 victory over Blue Springs South in the first round of the Eastern Jackson County Baseball Tournament Monday.
It was the Tigers’ second win over the Jaguars in a week, after a 7-6 win last Wednesday in extra innings.
It wouldn’t take that long this time. Blue Springs South’s John Brady and the Tigers’ Jason Kostelnick were locked in a pitchers’ duel, with South leading 2-1 through three innings on Brady Strickert’s solo homer and Jared Ravencamp’s RBI single.
Then, South coach Ben Baier went to his bullpen and the results were not what he had hoped for as eight consecutive Tigers reached base in a seven-run fourth inning that saw Lee’s Summit claim an 8-2 lead.
“It all starts on that little circle in the middle of the field,” Baier said after his team dropped to 7-2 and 0-1 in the tourney against the 12-2 Tigers. “You have to throw strikes! You can’t walk seven batters and even think about winning.”
“The walks killed us tonight. We have a nice record, but we’ve dealt with too many walks all season. In the past, we’ve found a way to get a win and not let the walks hurt us – but that was not the case tonight.”
The game was highly anticipated as South erased a 5-1 deficit last week in a Suburban Big Seven game against the Tigers to take a 6-5 lead in the top of the seventh. The Tigers tied the game and went on to win 7-6 in 10 innings.
“We were all looking forward to this game,” said Lee’s Summit junior shortstop Quinton Carlberg, who had a defensive gem in the top of the sixth inning when he robbed Ravencamp of a hit at deep short. He then ended the game with a bases-loaded, three-run double in the bottom of the inning.
“We have so much respect for South, and they came back last time we played them and the game went into extra innings. I don’t think anyone from either team thought we’d have a 10-run win tonight – but that’s baseball.”
“That’s what I love about the game. It’s unpredictable and you never know what’s going to happen. I just know this was a great day for our team.”
The 12-2 win over the Jaguars was the second win of the day for the Tigers as they roughed up St. Joseph Central ace Noah Campbell 8-2 in their first game of the tournament.
“When I saw Campbell’s name on their lineup card, I said a few things you can’t print in a family newspaper,” quipped Lee’s Summit coach Jim Mellody, “but then we went out and had a big offensive game. Go figure. He beat us as a sophomore and junior but we were able to get the best of him today and Gabe (Combs) threw a great game for us.”
“I’m really proud of what our kids have accomplished this season. This is a hard-working group who don’t care who gets the attention – all they want to do is win – and they’ll do the little things to get it done.”
While the South bullpen allowed 10 runs in three innings, Cody White (two) and Matt Blau (one) pitched three scoreless innings for the Tigers, with White picking up the win.
SUMMIT CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 2, TRUMAN 0: Truman dropped a heartbreaker to Summit Christian Academy, the No. 1 ranked Class 3 team in the state.
Truman’s Alex Khan was the losing pitcher, allowing just two runs over five innings. Mason Chance pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the 2-10-1 Patriots.
“Alex threw 95 pitches and we got him out of there and he deserved a better fate today because he was outstanding on the mound,” Truman coach Corey Lathrom said. “We had our chances. We had two runners on in the fifth and our best bunter bunted back to the mound and they got a force at third base and that killed the rally.”
Russell Cook was the winning pitcher for Summit Christian.
Truman bounced back for an 11-5 win over Raytown.
Alex Khan delivered a two-out, two-run single in a four-run first inning for a 4-1 lead.
The Patriots added single runs in each of the third and fourth innings and five in the sixth to pull away.
Nick Wheeler was 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and three runs, Kyler Barnett was 2-for-3 and scored three runs, Jordan McKinney doubled and singled, Josh Cruz doubled with an RBI and Nate Camby had a hit and an RBI for the Patriots.