The horrors of real life concerned Blue Springs South baseball coach Ben Baier much more than Park Hill’s six-run seventh inning that led to an improbable 7-5 come-from-behind victory over the Jaguars Thursday afternoon.
Four ambulances, countless other emergency vehicles and a hovering helicopter occupied the minds of many fans as word spread throughout the stands that four Blue Springs South students were involved in an accident on Taylor Road, located just south of the high school.
“We were just talking about the accident, and we all said a prayer at the end of our (players) meeting,” Baier said after his team fell to 12-3 and 4-2 in league play. “What happened today in the seventh is baseball – just baseball.
“What happened (in the accident) is real life, and it’s going to affect many families, and we want them to know they’re all in our thoughts and prayers.”
Baier said he heard that those injured in the accident were students from Blue Springs South, and that was later confirmed.
“Whoever was hurt, they are in our prayers along with their families,” said South catcher Allante Hall, who had a single, double and walk and scored a run. “Like Coach Baier said, none of us like what happened in the seventh, but we have another game tomorrow against Lee’s Summit West and we have to remember how we felt following that (seventh) inning and we have to work hard to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“Right now, we’re all praying for those kids who got hurt in that accident.”
For six innings, the Jaguars had it on cruise control as starter Brady Strickert (3 innings, one run, one hit) and reliever Brandt Lightner (3 innings, one hit and no runs) had the game well in command.
“We had one of our best starters out there for three and one of our top relievers and it looked good going into the seventh,” Baier said. “But things happen. That’s why you can never take anything for granted.”
The Trojans (11-10, 3-3) loaded the bases in the top of the seventh, but Lightner soon had two outs, and two strikes on Riley Putnam, who delivered an RBI single to cut the deficit to 5-2. Grant Mertz, Ryan Lack and Corey Bradford added RBI base hits and suddenly, the Jaguars were on the wrong end of a 7-5 score.
“It’s kind of funny,” Park Hill coach Wayne Lewis said after the big win, “we were talking before the start of the seventh inning about our game last week against (conference opponent) Ray-Pec and we were down six runs and scored seven to win.
“The guys were talking about how all we needed today were five runs, and we went out and scored six. The feeling of confidence in our dugout was apparent, even when we had two outs. This is a close-knit team, and I think they felt like they were going to get that win in the seventh inning and they did it against a very good pitcher and a very good team.”
Derek Mammen had a sacrifice fly in the first to give South a 1-0 lead. Will Heller ripped an RBI double in the fourth. Cale Sackewitz had a two-run single in the fifth and Heller added an RBI single.