A shaky start and a lack of timely hits meant the end to the Grain Valley baseball team’s season.

A shaky start and a lack of timely hits meant the end to the Grain Valley baseball team’s season.
The Eagles, despite David Richards’ 11th home run of the season, couldn’t recover from a 5-0 deficit after the first two innings in a 5-3 loss to Kirksville in a Class 3 state sectional Wednesday afternoon.
“We got down early because they got the key hits in the first couple innings and we didn’t,” Grain Valley coach Mark Lyford said after his team finished 17-6. “We did a good job battling but just couldn’t get the key hits.”
Kirksville scored three runs in the first inning and two in the second off Eagles starter Payton Bosserman.
“Payton struggled with his command a bit early on,” Lyford said. “But he settled down after that. A lot of their hits just found the holes, but he did a good job of keeping us in it and giving us a chance.”
Bosserman, who Lyford said averaged seven or eight strikeouts a game this season, only struck out one while issuing three walks and seven hits.
“They were the kind of team that puts the ball in play well,” Lyford said. “And those balls just kept finding holes early.”
Bosserman, though, held the Tigers scoreless over his final four innings in a complete game.
That gave the Eagles a chance to make a comeback against Kirksville senior starter Cody King, a University of Missouri recruit who struck out nine and walked four.
“We left nine runners on base, so it’s not like we didn’t give ourselves any chances,” Lyford said. “We had several opportunities late in the game, but we just couldn’t get that key two-out hit when we needed it.
“But give the guys credit of coming back while facing a guy who’s going to Mizzou. We had some really good at-bats against him, but we couldn’t get the key hit when we needed to.”
Jake Talamonte put the Eagles on the board against King first with an RBI double in the fourth.
Adam Harber’s RBI single in the fifth made it 5-2.
Richards, who went 2-for-4 wth a double, then made it interesting by slugging a one-out solo home run in the top of the seventh.
“That gave us a chance,” Lyford said. “We felt like if we could get the tying run on that we would have a chance. Like before, though, we couldn’t get the big hit.
“David had some good at-bats against a very good pitcher. He looked really good at the plate today.”
Richards had entered the game hitting .418 and finished his senior year with 11 home runs and 34 RBIs.
But the early 5-0 deficit was too much to overcome for the Eagles.
“We tried to work the count a little on (King) because he had a tendency to walk people at times,” Lyford said. “But being down 5-0 you can’t do much as far as running and bunting, which we like to do.”
Still, Lyford was happy with his team’s improvement this season over a 10-14 record last year.
“It was a pretty good turnaround,” he said. “These kids had a lot of talent, but they were just a great group of kids to work with.”