Long after many of his teammates had left the playing field at Blue Springs South High School – where the Jaguars dominated all phases of the Class 5 sectional playoff against Rockhurst to claim a 10-4 win – senior catcher Allante Hall simply didn’t want to leave.
“A lot of great memories here,” said Hall, who had a single, threw out the lone base runner who attempted to steal and was flawless in his handling of starting pitcher Will Heller. “I just don’t want to leave.
“It’s great that we won our last game, especially for all our seniors. And I know we play again Thursday, but I just don’t want to leave quite yet. I just want to take a while and think about the last three years and all we accomplished here.”
The Jaguars will play Liberty, a 5-3 winner over St. Joseph Central, in a state quarterfinal on Thursday on the Blue Jays’ home field.
The Jaguars won three consecutive district crowns but lost in the sectional round the last two years. Hall and his fellow seniors made sure that didn’t happen Tuesday afternoon.
“We have a word of the week, and recently it was ‘poise,’” said Heller, the senior starter who allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. “I think we showed a lot of poise today, and the offense and my defense really took care of me.
“Scoring in the first inning was big, and Jared's (Ravencamp) bases-loaded triple really broke the game open. And he made a great play in center field. All the guys were great. This was another team win.”
Jared Ravencamp, the No. 2 hitter in South’s lineup, came up to the plate three consecutive times with the bases loaded. The first time he crushed a ball to deep right field that glanced off the glove of Chris Castrop for a three-run triple.
“That was crazy coming up three times with the bases loaded,” said the senior center fielder, who cleared the bases to spark a four-run fourth inning. “We were all in for Will today, willing to do whatever it took to win this game. None of us wanted our senior season to end like last year.
“Now, we have to wait and see who we play Thursday, and whoever we play, we’re going to be ready.”
For the second game in a row, Dustin Brewer, the Jaguars’ senior leadoff hitter, reached base three times and scored three runs and got the final out to seal the victory.
“If I get on, I know the guys hitting behind me will get me home,” said Brewer, who had three hits and scored three runs and earned a save on the mound in the 8-6 district championship win over Blue Springs. “I know Will really wanted to finish that game and I’m glad I was able to get that final out for him.”
Heller left with the bases loaded and No. 6 hitter Zack Pitzl at the plate. Brewer threw one fastball and Pitzl flew out to right fielder Derek Mammen.
“That felt so good,” Brewer said. “We’ve won three straight districts but this is our first sectional win and we got a win in our last game at home. That makes it even more special.”
Jaguars coach Ben Baier had been preaching good, solid fundamental team ball to his Jaguars, who improved to 21-8 and won their sixth in a row to put them one win away from the state final four.
“We got it done on the hill, in the field and at the plate,” Baier said. “Like we talked about the other day, the team that gets it done on the hill and makes the fewest mistakes is going to win this game.”
The Hawklets committed three errors, walked 11 Jaguars and threw four wild pitches.
“The wild pitches – the balls that get back to the backstop – those are the things we don’t worry about with Allante behind the plate,” Baier added. “He does all the little things you need to get from your catcher to win games.”
Ravencamp finished with two singles, a triple, three RBIs and two runs scored. Heller helped his own cause by walking twice and scoring and Brewer added two singles, a walk and the three runs scored.
Rockhurst finished with a 19-10 record. South beat Rockhurst twice this season, 9-8 at Rockhurst, with the Hawklets claiming a 10-5 win at South.