It wasn’t always pretty, but Truman got the job done in a big way.
The Patriots baseball squad scratched across runs any way it could and took advantage of some shaky pitching by Raytown to earn a 8-1 decision in pool play of the Eastern Jackson County Tournament Tuesday at Legacy Park in Lee’s Summit.
The team got an early start on avenging an early season 5-2 loss to Raytown in the Raytown Schools Tournament.
It was a five-run first inning aided by Truman’s patience at the plate and the wild pitching of Blue Jays starter Deandre Parker that got things rolling.
Parker walked the first three batters he faced and Rorey Combs scored on a wild pitch for the first run. Van Oswald added to the damage when he unloaded a deep shot to left field. Raytown outfielder Devin Sudduth looked like he would track it down but he stumbled and the ball fell behind him for two-run triple.
Oswald later scored on Parker’s second wild pitch before Nick Wheeler and Mason Steele helped chase Parker with a walk and a double, respectively. Christian Johnson then came in to relieve Parker and allowed Gehrig Bristow to make it 5-0 with an RBI groundout.
“We haven’t been able to put runs on the board early lately, so it was good to see that,” Truman starting pitcher Brayden Jensen said. “It was good to work from ahead.”
Jensen pitched five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits, one walk and also striking out five. He also got himself out of a couple of jams. In the bottom of the third, Raytown loaded the bases following a pair of Truman errors and a single with two outs. Jensen wasn’t shaken as he fanned Joe Benovich to end the threat.
The Blue Jays also had runners on the corners with one out in the fifth. Jensen used a lightning-quick pickoff to get Luqman Ali at first then got Montel Jones to fly out to quash another Raytown scoring opportunity.
“Jensen filled up the zone and really had his curve going,” Oswald said. “When Braden has his curveball going, he’s really tough. He looked good on the hill.”
Truman’s offense gave Jensen more support than he needed and one of the runs was scored without a hit. Steele walked, took second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a Joe Oswald sacrifice bunt and came home on a Bristow squeeze to make it 6-0 in the second.
In the fourth, Combs blasted a triple to deep center field and scored on Trent DuRall’s RBI groundout for a 7-0 advantage.
The team capped its scoring in the top of the fifth, Van Oswald doubled, took third on a passed ball and came home on Bristow’s grounder, his third RBI of the game without getting a hit.
“Some of our outs were hit hard,” Truman coach John Eglich said. “We made the most of our opportunities, got some walks and got some base runners.
“We usually only scored a few runs a game, so whenever we can put eight up, we’re pretty happy about that.”
Van Oswald had the big night offensively for the Patriots and was the beneficiary of a couple of misplayed fly balls in the outfield. He was 3-for-4 two RBIs and two runs scored to power the offense.
“I was seeing the ball really good tonight,” he said. “They were leaving some pitches out over the plate and gave me something to drive. I just made contact with them today and they flew.
“We were locked in at the plate as a team today. Trent hit a couple hard hit balls today. We were just patient at the plate and driving our pitches.”
Myles Odom pitched the final two innings for the Patriots and allowed just an RBI single to Jake Smirl in the sixth and struck out three.