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Examiner
  • Wildcats win again with late-game heroics

  • Maybe the Blue Springs baseball team would be better off spotting its opponents two runs at the start of each inning.

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  • Maybe the Blue Springs baseball team would be better off spotting its opponents two runs at the start of each inning.
    Because the last two nights, the Wildcats have repeatedly produced big plays with just one out to spare.
    In their 7-6 Suburban Big Six Conference victory over rival Blue Springs South on Thursday, the Cats went 4-for-8 with two outs and runners on to pull out a win in a game in which the lead changed hands five times. That came on the heels of Wednesday’s dramatic 9-5 win over Lee’s Summit North that was finalized by Corbin Hare’s two-out walk-off grand slam.
    Of course, the biggest bop Thursday at Blue Springs High School came with one out, but produced just as big a thrill. With the Cats trailing 6-5 in the bottom of the seventh, Kyle Reed cracked a shot to deep center field off South starter Reece Eddins. Jaguars center fielder Braden Younkin gave chase and crashed into the fence trying to make the catch. But the blast cleared the wall, scoring Reed and Lamb, who led off with an opposite-field double, to give Blue Springs (10-5, 5-1 conference) its fifth win in the last six games.
    “If it’s in the water, we need to keep drinking that water,” Wildcat coach Marc Hines said. “We’re not going to quit until the final out. We’re going to battle until the bitter end.”
    Reed said he went to the plate looking fastball and hoped to just connect for a base hit. On a 2-1 count, he caught up with a fastball that Eddins, who pitched all seven innings, left up in the zone.
    “You just have to stay relaxed under pressure,” said Reed, went 2-for-3, reached three times and scored twice. “There are a lot of fans out here and lots of pressure on you to do good. You just have to know what you’re looking for and take that swing.”
    Although his day ended with a loss and a banged up knee after missing out on Reed’s shot, Younkin clocked his own key two-out hit in the Jaguars’ half of the seventh when he drove in a run with an RBI single to give South (8-3, 3-1) a short-lived advantage.
    “It’s a tough loss,” Jaguar coach Ben Baier said. “These guys are a good team. They’re always like that and we expected it. We talked (after the game) that we still have everything ahead of us that we want to do. You just tip your cap to them.”
    The Jags missed out on a run in the sixth on a controversial play that left Baier steaming. With two outs and the game tied at 5-all, Dallas Herrmann tried to score on Austin Simms’ single to left. Blue Springs reliever Brett Barbeck took the relay throw from right fielder Brandon Bennefeld and tossed it to catcher William Kesling. As the throw arrived, Herrmann crashed into Kesling, sending him sprawling to the dirt. Herrmann was called out, which drew a lengthy and vocal protest from Baier.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I don’t agree with it,” Baier said. “That’s all I’m going to say. I don’t agree with the call.”
    South took a 2-0 lead early by plating single runs in the first two frames. Sprague scored the first run by stealing third and forcing a wild throw. Younkin brought in the other with a run-scoring single in the second off Wildcat starter Jay Corwin.
    Jeremy Lufft stroked an RBI single in the second for Blue Springs’ first run and Stober gave the Cats the lead in the third with a two-run base hit. The Jags answered with a three-run fifth via a bases-loaded walk by Dominic DeFeo and Jacob Clark’s two-RBI single, but the Cats came right back in the fifth with Stober’s two-run triple.
    DeFeo finished 2-for-2 and reached four times, Sprague stole three bases and scored twice and Younkin went 2-for-4 and plated a run.
    Stober led Blue Springs by going 3-for-3 with four RBIs and a run scored and Lamb finished 2-for-4 with a pair of runs.
    “We got the clutch hits when we had to,” Stober said. “It’s awesome. When every guy up there can go up there and you’re like, ‘Man, he can get a big hit,’ that’s a good feeling.”
    Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC
     

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