One comeback win over Excelsior Springs this week was enough for Grain Valley.
The Eagles, who staged a seventh-inning rally on Tuesday to defeat the Tigers 7-5 at Excelsior Springs, took control early on Friday when they hosted the Tigers in a rematch. Building a 7-0 lead through the first three innings, they went on to win the Missouri River Valley Conference West meeting 9-4.
“We executed well,” Grain Valley baseball coach Brian Driskell said.
Junior infielder Mickey Simpson got Grain Valley going offensively with his leadoff first-inning home run.
“It was pretty cool,” Simpson said. “It was my first (home run in) high school. … It was a good energy boost for the team.”
The Eagles (12-9, 5-1 MRVC West) then exploded for a six-hit, six-run third.
“They had a couple mistakes – a ball thrown away (throwing error),” Driskell said. “And we had a really good bunt that was executed and a couple big hits that just broke it open.”
“We’ve done that a few times this year,” he added. “And they did it to us in the first inning up there. … It was just kind of a little bit of a mixture of we executed and they didn’t, honestly.”
Catcher Crichton Hill’s leadoff double sparked the big inning. Hill, who finished 3-for-3 with a walk, was among three Eagles with an extra-base hit that inning. Josh Kilpatrick also doubled. Senior infielder Tate Collum’s two-out RBI triple capped the rally.
“I feel like we were all seeing the pitcher pretty well,” said Collum, who finished 3-for-4. “We were all putting good hits on him, so I was just waiting my turn.”
The Tigers tacked up a run in the fourth inning and then cut the margin to 7-4 with three runs in the top of the sixth.
The Eagles answered with two runs in the bottom of the sixth to help secure their regular-season sweep of the Tigers.
For Excelsior Springs (10-8, 4-2), losing to Grain Valley for the second time in less than a week was part of what Tigers coach Aaron Holst called “a meat grinder” of a schedule that also included recent games against Liberty and Staley. It’s the type of schedule the Tigers need to help them pursue their goal of a district title, according to Holst.
“You know you’re going to see a good pitcher every time out against these people,” he said. “We’ve got to be able to match them.”