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Examiner
  • South looks sharp in extra-inning win over Tigers

  • For a squad that’s played on an infield twice all spring, the Blue Springs South baseball team is looking particularly crisp in the season’s initial days.

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  • For a squad that’s played on an infield twice all spring, the Blue Springs South baseball team is looking particularly crisp in the season’s initial days.
    On Monday, the Jaguars nipped Lee’s Summit 1-0 in nine innings to start the season 2-0 after Friday’s 4-2 win over Logan-Rogersville. The key stat in the win over the Tigers was the final column on the scoreboard. In a game with just eight combined hits, Lee’s Summit committed four errors while the Jaguars escaped without a miscue.
    The Tigers’ final mishap was especially costly.
    With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and South junior Reece Eddins standing on second base, Jacob Clark bounced a grounder toward third. Tiger third baseman Austin Buhr gathered the roller and lofted a throw toward first, but it sailed over first baseman Justin Givens' head. As Givens chased the errant throw, Eddins sprinted around third and headed home. Givens’ throw came in just ahead of Eddins, but the South second baseman slid away from catcher Travis Simonin’s tag. The umpire ruled him safe, although the call drew a loud protest from Lee’s Summit coach Jim Mellody.
    Nonetheless, the Jags were given an opportunity and capitalized by making the contest’s decisive play.
    “We made the plays tonight,” South coach Ben Baier said. “We didn’t make great plays – we made the plays.”
    Eddins said he thought he beat the tag, but he admitted it was a 50-50 call. He also credited junior Caleb Humphreys, who was right by the plate signaling which direction Eddins should slide – one of the few fundamentals South’s been able to practice indoors in recent weeks.
    “It always helps to have the other team make an error,” Eddins said. “Then runners can be one or two bases ahead and that’s different situational hitting.
    “I also had a teammate back there telling me which way to slide, and that helps bunches. Just doing all the little things helps, especially when there’s errors, you can get runs here and there.”
    South also pushed the Tigers to a draw in the pitching department, despite facing senior left-hander Jordan Knutson, who has signed to play at Missouri State.
    Knutson worked six innings, giving up just two first-inning hits and striking out 11. But South senior starter C.J. Egelston labored through four scoreless innings despite not having his best stuff. He walked three batters in the first inning and gave up two hits in the second.
    He escaped both threats unscathed, though, as he stranded five runners in all.
    “He struggled,” Baier said. “He threw a lot of pitches, walked a bunch of guys. But like I told him after the game, the biggest deal is he didn’t give up any runs. He battled out of stuff. That’s what you’ve got to do.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Sophomore Connor Davis came on in the fifth inning for his first appearance in a varsity game and baffled the Tigers. He retired nine straight batters to start, one of which came via a backpedaling, diving catch from left fielder Trevor Wendleton to end the sixth frame.
    The most serious danger Davis faced came in the eighth inning when Lee’s Summit’s Noah Arni cracked a one-out triple. The next batter, Simonin, stroked a grounder to shortstop Colton Pogue, who fired a strike to DeFeo at the plate to nab Arni for the second out. After giving up another single, Davis ended the inning with another groundout.
    “Conner Davis – I can’t say enough about him,” Baier said. “He came out in his first varsity action, threw five innings on 42 pitches and just got ground balls and we made plays behind him.”
    Davis recorded 12 of his 15 outs via groundout and registered his first career win despite tallying no strikeouts.
    “I was just trying to go out there and throw strikes and give my teammates a chance to get the win,” Davis said. “We got it done today.”
    Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC
     
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