• Tigers ace overwhelms Truman

  • Connor Polacek thought he was watching something on an Xbox, not an actual baseball game.

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  • Connor Polacek thought he was watching something on an Xbox, not an actual baseball game.
    The Truman senior was describing Lee’s Summit senior Jordan Knutson’s curveball – a pitch the 6-foot-1 left-hander located with pinpoint accuracy throughout Friday’s game at Truman High School. Polacek was one of the few Patriots to achieve some degree of success against the Missouri State signee, going 1-for-3 without a strikeout.
    Knutson overpowered just about everyone else, striking out 18 in a 6-1 victory.
    “He was just hitting his spots and his curveball was just deadly,” Polacek said. “It’s like watching a video game out there. He was just dealing.”
    Even Truman coach John Eglich had to go against his coaching instinct by conceding that there really wasn’t a whole lot he or his team could do to alter the contest’s outcome. Not when Knutson was firing a high-80s fastball, a knee-buckling curve and even mixing in another offspeed pitch in the later innings.
    “Some of our guys, this is the first time they’re seeing D-I pitching at this level, and let’s face it, they were a little overmatched today,” Eglich said. “Hopefully by the end of the year, we’re putting those balls in play and getting base hits. But for today, it looked like some overmatched at-bats.”
    Although the Pats (2-4) fell behind 1-0 in the top of the first, they knotted the score in their first turn at the plate as Polacek stroked a single and J.T. Hayes whacked a run-scoring double off a rare fastball Knutson left up in the strike zone.
    Unfortunately for Truman, the ball only left the infield one more time the rest of the way.
    “Hats off to him,” said Hayes, who struck out looking in his final two trips to the plate. “Hats off. I know him, he’s one of the best pitchers in the area.”
    The Tigers (2-3) reclaimed the lead in the second with Drew Blair’s RBI single off Justin Madsen and added three more runs in the fourth – two of which scored when center fielder Chase Lafavor just missed a diving stab of Travis Simonin’s deep drive.
    Lee’s Summit added a final score in the sixth off a double by Austin Buhr and the Pats failed to ever put more than one runner on base in any inning past the first.
    “I don’t even know how competitive some of those at-bats were, to be honest,” Eglich said. “It was a great performance. I didn’t think we played awful, but when you don’t give yourself chances to score, you’re going to end up with that result.”
    The defeat concluded a brutal four-game week for the Pats in which they lost three games in three days after topping Ruskin 14-3 on Tuesday. Although their 2-4 record seems pedestrian, Eglich said its easy to see their fortunes quickly reversing. On Wednesday, Truman dropped a 12-0 decision to Lee’s Summit West, a team ranked sixth in Class 5, and suffered a heartbreaking 10-8 loss to Park Hill South Thursday after giving up seven two-out runs in a disastrous third inning.
    Page 2 of 2 - Next week’s slate doesn’t get any easier with five games on the docket. Although for a team still working off some offseason rust, that’s not necessarily a negative, Hayes said.
    “Every day you get to play baseball’s a good day,” Hayes said. “So you’ve just got to make the most of it.”
    Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC

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