A promising first inning wasn’t enough for the Blue Springs South baseball team Tuesday.
Rockhurst’s offense came alive – especially at the lower end of the batting order – to hand the Jaguars a 10-5 non-conference loss Tuesday afternoon at South.
South’s Derek Mammen crushed a two-run double and starting pitcher Brady Strickert added an RBI single to put the Jaguars ahead 3-0 in the bottom of the first, but the rest of the 2-hour, 57-minute marathon belonged to the Hawklets.
Chris Castrop, the No. 8 hitter in the Rockhurst lineup, and No. 9 Massimo Avelluto combined to score five runs and Avelluto added a three-run homer and two-run single.
Strickert allowed four runs through the first three-plus innings and reliever Dustin Brewer was roughed up for five runs, including Avelluto’s fifth-inning home run.
“It’s obviously disappointing to get that early lead and see them come back and win like they did tonight,” South coach Ben Baier said after the Jaguars fell to 13-6. “We’re struggling now. I know it, our players know it, it happens.
“It has nothing to do with the players’ work ethic or desire, we’re just not playing the type of baseball we want to be playing – especially at this time of the season.
“But we know our biggest games are coming up and we can find a way out of this slump.”
All-state catcher Allante Hall, who threw out two base runners and had a first-inning double, agreed with his coach.
“We need to compete to get better and our pitchers need to throw more strikes and we need to show more plate discipline,” Hall said. “We’re swinging at anything and need to go up to the plate with a plan.”
The Hawklets batted around in a four-run fourth inning that included four base hits and three walks. The inning ended with a crisp strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play with Hall nailing a would-be Hawklets base stealer.
South added a solo run in the second inning when Grant Geren scored on a wild pitch and Brewer helped his own cause with an RBI double in the sixth.
“The best thing about this game is that we get right back at it again tomorrow with a conference game against a good Ray-Pec (Raymore-Peculiar) team,” Baier said. “Like I said, we’re going to find a way to throw a few more strikes and be more selective at the plate. I have confidence in our guys.”