In a baseball game with a score more like a football game, with a mentality from a prize fight, Lee’s Summit North earned revenge on Liberty.

And in the process, the Broncos continued to make history.

In a baseball game with a score more like a football game, with a mentality from a prize fight, Lee’s Summit North earned revenge on Liberty.
And in the process, the Broncos continued to make history.
In the first state baseball quarterfinal appearance in school history, the Broncos (25-5) overcame an eight-run inning by host Liberty and grabbed a wild 16-11 victory to earn the school’s first baseball state semifinal appearance.
The Broncos had lost to Liberty in both previous meetings this year.
“It was like two heavyweights slugging it out,” North coach Jeff Diekmann said. “We get a five-run first inning, they come back with eight in the second and land a haymaker.”
Everything seemed to go North’s way early, as RBIs by Gavin Stark, Dustin Ulrich and Chad Shannon sparked a five-run top of the first.
After a scoreless bottom of the inning, North appeared to be in control.
But then Liberty responded with eight runs in the bottom of the second, including a two-out grand slam by Nathan LeBlanc. The Blue Jays added another run in the third before the Broncos rallied for five in the top of the fourth thanks to a pair of two-run hits by David Longcoy and Dustin Ulrich.
“That boosted us a lot,” Longcoy said. “That gave us the energy to pull through.”
Liberty tied the game in the bottom of the fourth and the two teams matched runs in the fifth inning, making it an 11-11 game entering the top of the sixth.
“They punched us in the throat, and we punched them back,” said Gavin Stark, who had three RBIs and three hits. “We punched them, then they punched us back.
“Those were two tough losses (to Liberty). We knew coming in it would be tough for them to beat a good team three times in a row.”
After the sixth inning, North dominated the game, scoring three in the sixth and two in the seventh, not allowing a run the rest of the game. Caleb Cole, who came on in relief to pick up the win, said having a lot of close games this season helped the Broncos.
“You’re going to have to use your fingers and your toes to count how many close games we’ve had,” Cole said. “We battle hard and play as a team. That’s a big part of those close wins.”
Now the Broncos head to their first trip to the state semifinals. The Broncos will play DeSoto at 10 a.m. Friday in Springfield.
“To be honest, I don’t even know,” Cole said when asked how to describe how he was feeling. “The adrenaline rush is just so much right now.”
Diekmann said he’s been thrilled with how this team just keeps winning and making school history.
“I told them when we got together that I had to check the scoreboard to make sure it was over and if we scored more runs than they did,” he joked. “This team has accomplished a lot of goals. But there are a couple more to get to.”
Stark, for one, is confident in what the Broncos can do.
“To put 16 runs on a team like Liberty, that shows the rest of the state that we’re a good hitting team,” he said.
“Sectionals is as far as we’ve been before. We’re not done yet. We want to do damage in the state playoffs, and our job isn’t done yet.”

CLASS 4 QUARTERFINAL LINESCORE
LEE’S SUMMIT NORTH 16, LIBERTY 11
LS North    500    513    2    —    16    17    1
Liberty       081    110    0    —    11    12    4
Fuchs, Stone (2), Cole (3) and Hill; Adams, LaRocca (4), Sullivant (6) and Jones. W-Cole. L-LaRocca. HR: LeBlanc, Liberty.