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Examiner
  • Wildcats clip rival Jags for second time in last week

  • The Blue Springs and Blue Springs South baseball teams have played two games and 15 innings this season. Two runs are all that’s separated them.

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  • The Blue Springs and Blue Springs South baseball teams have played two games and 15 innings this season. Two runs are all that’s separated them.
    While the squads have been about as evenly matched as possible, the Wildcats have held the slim edge in both contests, winning Wednesday’s wild Suburban Big Six contest 11-10 in eight innings at Blue Springs South High School after taking last week’s game 7-6 on Kyle Reed’s walk-off two-run homer.
    While last week’s game was crisp, with just one error for each team, Wednesday’s lasted three hours with 22 combined walks and seven errors.
    “It was a war of attrition out there,” Blue Springs coach Marc Hines said. “We both kept scoring and fortunately at the end we were up by one.”
    The victory gives the Wildcats (12-5, 7-1 conference) the inside track to the conference title. They now hold a 2 1/2-game lead over the Jaguars with two Big Six games left while South (10-4, 5-2) has three left on its slate.
    “It’s huge,” said pitcher Jay Corwin, who earned the win in relief of Corbin Hare. “It means a lot to win these big-time games and to get that better seeding and to go for the win in conference. It’s just great.”
    Corwin collected the win but had to sweat out the final two outs from the dugout. Blue Springs took an 11-8 lead in the eighth after Dillon Jackson clubbed an RBI double, Corwin drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Brandon Bennefeld brought in another with a double. But South rallied right back, loading the bases with one out and pulling within 11-9 after Braden Younkin drew a bases loaded walk. That’s when Hines called on closer Brett Barbeck, who coaxed a groundout, a run-scoring fielder’s choice and a flyout to end the threat.
    Barbeck let out a scream as he walked off the mound and was greeted by an elated Corwin, who knocked Barbeck off-balance with a stiff chest bump.
    “I was about to throw up in there,” said Corwin, who also swatted a double. “Brett just came in and pitched well. He came in and was clutch.”
    South took the first lead on Dominic DeFeo’s run-scoring double in the second, but the Wildcats plated six in the third, three of which came on bases-loaded walks or hit batsmen and another on an error. That was a recurring issue for the Jaguars, who allowed six runs via walk, hit by pitch or fielding miscue.
    “You’re not going to do that and beat a team like Blue Springs,” South coach Ben Baier said. “They’re well coached and they scrap and they battle.”
    But the Jags didn’t go out with a whimper, scoring five in the third as Reece Eddins clocked an RBI single, Jacob Clark stroked a two-run double, Nic Mertes was hit by a pitch with the bases juiced and Clark scored on a wild pitch. They tied the game in the fifth on Eddins’ solo homer.
    Page 2 of 2 - “The fact that we had a chance there at the end says a lot about the kids' resolve to come back and get in it,” Baier said.
    The slugfest continued into the fifth, with Reed stroking an RBI single and Hare taking a walk with the bases loaded before Taylor Sprague tied the game at 8-all with a run-scoring single in South’s turn.
    “In a game like this, you’ve got to go in there thinking that you’ve got to get a base hit to the right spot, move the guys over, get them in,” said Jackson, who finished 3-for-5 with two runs and RBIs.
    Lufft finished 2-for-4 with a run and RBI, Hare reached four times and scored twice and Lamb reached three times, stole three bases and plated a pair of runs.
    Eddins led South with a 4-for-5 effort, four runs and two RBIs. Sprague reached five times while going 2-for-3 with a run, stolen base and RBI and Clark ended 2-for-5 with two RBIs and run scored.
    Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC
     
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