• Jags breeze to fourth district title in six years

  • Reece Eddins got the job done on the mound and at the plate Tuesday afternoon.

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  • Reece Eddins got the job done on the mound and at the plate Tuesday afternoon.
    Eddins did a little bit of everything as his Blue Springs South baseball team hammered Lee's Summit North 10-2 in the Class 5 District 14 championship at Blue Springs High School.
    The lanky right-hander struck out four in a complete-game effort that was made a bit easier by the Jaguars' four-run first inning.
    “When you have four runs to work with in the first inning, you breathe a little easier,” said Eddins, who stroked a bases-loaded single to help his own cause. “It's nice to contribute offensively, especially when you're out there on the mound.”
    That hit was nice, but it was his solo homer in a five-run third inning that had everyone talking. With a stiff 35 mile-per-hour breeze blowing in from center field, Eddins hit a line drive rocket that just cleared the fence and went deep into the woods that surround the outfield fence.
    “No one thought there'd be one hit out today,” said South coach Ben Baier, whose team improved to 13-7 while advancing to next week's sectional playoffs. "He just hit the heck out of that ball. And he hit it right into the teeth of that wind. It was one of those homers you had to see to believe. We all thought the wind was going to keep the ball in the park today.”
    Eddins, who struck out four and walked just one Bronco batter, said the big offensive first inning allowed him to pitch to contact and let his defense take care of the rest.
    “What about the job the defense did today?” Eddins asked. “It was pretty amazing. Nothing got through, especially on the right side of the field.”
    South second baseman Taylor Sprague turned a slick double play in the top of the fifth inning and robbed two Bronco batters by charging the ball and making underhand throws to Austin Simms at first base.
    In the top of the seventh, Conner Davis ran a long way toward the foul line and dove to make a circus catch to allow Eddins to pitch a 1-2-3 final frame.
    “The defense loves to play behind Reece,” Sprague said, “because he throws strikes and lets the defense take care of him. That catch Conner made in right field was one of the best I've seen this season.”
    Senior Dallas Herrmann scored the first run of the four-run first inning when Eddins delivered with his bases-loaded single.
    “We really wanted to give Reece some offensive support early in the game,” Herrmann said. “It was important to get an early lead because North is such a great team. It was great that Reece was able to help himself. This was really a team win because Reece pitched a great game and we scored some runs and played great defense.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The Jaguars will play the District 13 winner, Lee's Summit West or Rockhurst, in the Class 5 sectionals at that team's field next Tuesday.
    This is South's fourth district title in the past six years. The Jaguars also won in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
    “When I gave Reece the ball, I just told him to go out and get the job done, and he did,” Baier said. “I love to watch the guys when they play like they did today. We scored some early runs and made it tough for North to come back because of our defense. It was a great district win.”
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC

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