Grain Valley and Blue Springs South claimed mercy-rule victories Monday afternoon as lightning and light rain fell on the well manicured field at Blue Springs High School.
The Eagles roughed up Truman 22-3 and the Jaguars toppled Raytown South 12-2 in Class 5 District 14 action.
Grain Valley will take an 11-game winning streak and 20-8 record into today’s 4 p.m. semifinal game against 18-8 Blue Springs South while the host Wildcats will put their 20-10 record on the line at 1:30 p.m. against the 6-24 Lee’s Summit North Broncos, who edged Raytown 5-3 in Monday’s opening district contest.
Truman got off to a hot start against the Eagles, scoring three times in the top of the first inning off starter Jake Misiorowski, but the Grain Valley bats came to life the next two innings, sending 24 hitters to plate and collecting 12 hits and 20 runs.
The biggest hit in the bottom of the first inning was Josh Kilpatrick’s opposite-field three-run homer that knotted the score at 3-all.
“It was a big homer at the time because Truman had that 3-0 lead,” said Kilpatrick, who added a walk, double and single, a run scored and one more RBI. “The biggest thing is that we won today and get to play again tomorrow.
“District is all about team, and not about individual accomplishments. We’re facing a tougher opponent tomorrow, and I know we’ll be ready.”
Leadoff man Tate Collum, a senior who has signed to play football at Missouri Western State University, does not want to play his last baseball game this week.
“This is it for me,” said Collum, who had two singles, a double, scored four times and added two RBIs. “I couldn’t sleep Sunday night, I was pretty nervous about the game. For all us seniors, this is it, our last game as an Eagle.
“And since I’m playing football in college, this is it, period! I don’t want it to end, and I am so glad we came back from being down 3-0 and had those big first two innings. We were hitting and scoring and everyone couldn’t wait to get to the plate.”
Every member of the Eagles reached base in an 11-run second inning as coach Brian Driskell’s team blew the game open.
“We might have had more talent last year, because we’re a younger team this year,” Driskell said, “but because we are so young we’re resilient and we feel like we can come back from any deficit. This is a great team – they really care about each other and don’t care who gets the credit. They are a fun group to coach.”
Nick House pitched the last three innings and struck out the side in the fourth and fifth innings.
“He’s a great comeback story,” Driskell said. “He had elbow problems as a sophomore and last year and all he wants to do is compete out on the mound and help us win. To see him out there pitching that well in a district game is really special.”
BLUE SPRINGS SOUTH 12, RAYTOWN SOUTH 2: A seven-run fourth inning, after a half-hour lightning delay, highlighted the Jaguars’ win over Raytown South.
Brady Strickert hit a three-run homer in the inning and Derek Mammen’s fifth-inning RBI single gave South a 10-run lead and ended the game because of the mercy rule.
Andrew Simms went the distance for the Jaguars, not letting the lightning delay or the lengthy fourth inning keep him from being effective.
“We had Simms throwing on the side, and he had a low pitch count so we felt like he’d be fine,” Jaguars coach Ben Baier said. “He ate a lot of innings and pitched well for us today.”
Strickert said the Jaguars’ big fourth inning couldn’t have come at a better time.
“We wanted to get the game over, it was getting dark and it was raining, and we were able to get the job done,” Stricket said. “We got a great start from Andrew and we were able to hit the ball pretty well late in the game.”
Catcher Allante Hall led the Jaguars with three singles and Jared Ravencamp added a single and double.