• Fike rallies to claim Wood Bat pool title, advance

  • A dramatic six-run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning led Blue Springs Post 499/Fike to Saturday's quarterfinals in the 25th annual American Legion Wood Bat Invitational.

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  • A dramatic six-run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning led Blue Springs Post 499/Fike to Saturday's quarterfinals in the 25th annual American Legion Wood Bat Invitational.
    Fike took a 2-1 record into Friday's must-win game against the Warrensburg Post 131 Isotopes, who were 3-0 in Pool A play. But Post 499 came away with a stunning 8-6 victory Friday night on Jim Moran Field at Hidden Valley Park.
    "I told the guys, 'You snooze, you lose. You win, you're in,'" Fike manager Jim Moran said as his players groaned in the background. "To start off with a disappointing loss and then to come back and win three games to get into the quarterfinals is pretty special."
    Moran co-founded the Wood Bat Invitational 25 years ago. His squad will play the O'Fallon (Mo.) West Jaguars at 10 a.m. Saturday. The Lee’s Summit Hawthorn Bank Outlaws will play Jefferson City Post 5 at 12:30 p.m.; Bellevue (Neb.) Post 339 West will play Elsberry (Mo.) Post 226 at 3 p.m.; and at 5:30 p.m., defending champion Washington (Mo.) Post 218 will play Warrensburg, which earned a quarterfinal berth through the runs-allowed tiebreaker, beating out the Sedalia Post 642 Travelers and St. Peters Post 313 for the final spot in the championship bracket. All quarterfinal games will be played on Jim Moran Field at Hidden Valley.
    Trailing 4-2, going into the bottom of the sixth inning, Fike's Cale Benson reached first after striking out on a wild pitch by Warrensburg starter Dylan Riley.
    Reece Eddins followed with an RBI triple, cutting the deficit to just one run.
    "We got excited when Cale got on after striking out," Eddins said. "I was really surprised I got the triple, because I just stuck my bat out there and really connected on an offspeed pitch."
    Carson Messner followed with an RBI single and Cam Miller walked and Braden Younkin reached first on an infield error.
    Dylan Farrell then hit a two-run single and C.J. Egelston followed with a two-run triple.
    "I was looking for a slider – he'd been throwing it all game – and I got it," said Farrell, whose hit gave Fike a 6-4 lead. "We had so many chances to score before the sixth inning. We finally got some big hits when we needed them."
    Egelston – who had stuggled at the plate all night, and was upset when a strike was called after he had asked for a timeout – was thrilled with his key extra base hit.
    "I hadn't done anything to help the team until I got the triple," Egelston said. "It gave us a little breathing room. It felt good to get that hit."
    Farrell then came on in relief of Mark Montisano, who pitched two scoreless innings to get the win. Farrell struggled some but managed to pick up the biggest save of the season.
    Page 2 of 2 - "It's been forever since I've pitched," said Farrell, who struck out Brad Long to end the game after Kyle Denker had collected a two-run double. "Thank goodness we had the four-run lead. I would have felt so bad if I'd have come in and let them tie the score."
    Warrensburg took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, but Fike cut the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom of the second when Messner doubled, went to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Nick Mertes' sacrifice fly to center.
    Warrensburg expanded its lead to 3-1 in the top of the third on a double by Brett Marr. He went to third on an infield error and Riley single and scored on Denker's sacrifice to center.
    Fike again cut the deficit to one run in the bottom of the third when Dom DeFeo was hit by a pitch, sacrificed to second and scored when Warrensburg’s Alex St. Pierre dropped a fly ball hit by Egelston in right field.

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