Today, Kellen Bartlett was expected to be on the mound – but not for Blue Springs Post 499/Fike in American Legion play.

Instead, Bartlett was hoping to be trying to send his Blue Springs South High School team into the state championship game, as he was supposed to take the ball for the Jaguars in today’s semifinal.

Today, Kellen Bartlett was expected to be on the mound – but not for Blue Springs Post 499/Fike in American Legion play.
Instead, Bartlett was hoping to be trying to send his Blue Springs South High School team into the state championship game, as he was supposed to take the ball for the Jaguars in today’s semifinal.
However, an upset loss to Oak Park last week ended South’s dreams of a state title and ended not only the high school career of Bartlett and his senior teammates, but also head coach Richard Wood.
That frustration was taken out on the Independence VFW Post 1000 Bears Wednesday night.
Bartlett gave up only one hit – a bloop single – while striking out 10.
“I’ve thought about it a lot,” Bartlett said. “It would have been my day to pitch.”
Another lefty from Blue Springs also took some frustration of an early exit from the state playoffs out on his opponent as well.
Thursday, Blue Springs High School graduate Kyle Barbeck was just as dominant – if not more so.
After a tough, controversial loss to Rockhurst in the district semifinals, Barbeck has had time to think about that loss and knowing his high school career ended earlier than he wanted, after helping the Wildcats win a state championship the year before.
Independence Post 21 felt Barbeck’s wrath. Only four of the 16 batters he faced put the ball in play. He gave up one hit and three groundouts. He retired the final 11 batters he faced, nine of them by strikeout. He struck out 11 hitters in total.
His outing also came against a team that had scored 32 runs in two games the previous night.
“After that loss in district, I felt like I needed to make a statement, show I can still do it,” Barbeck, who will pitch for the University of Mississippi starting this fall, said after his outing. “And these wins were big, because we’re up two games on them already.”
Both rival lefties helped their teams start out Fifth District play undefeated.
And though Bartlett will not be with Fike the entire season – especially when he has to head off to play college football at Utah State – he will help Fike early on when the games count in the standings.
And these two lefties have put their teams as the teams to beat in the Fifth District.
Another similarity in the two performances – both overshadowed great performances in the second games of the doubleheader.
For Fike, Stephan Keele gave up one hit in five innings in the second game of the doubleheader sweep of the Bears.
A’s pitcher Ben Briant gave up only one hit and one run in six innings, striking out seven, against Post 21.
“You’re going to win a lot of games if you keep getting pitching like that,” A’s manager Mike Rooney said.
Both Blue Springs and Blue Springs South were very successful in the high school season.
And both Rooney and Fike manager Jim Moran are hoping that success translates to the Fifth District this season.
As long as players like Bartlett and Barbeck play with the chips of disappointing ends to their high school careers on their shoulders, that success should easily carry over.
And those players will have fantastic summers before heading on to playing different sports in college.