The second game between the Blue Springs South and Blue Springs baseball teams seemed to be a mirror image of their first meeting.
That was good news for the Jaguars.
In the first game, Will Heller pitched six scoreless innings to propel his team to a 2-0 win. On Friday, the right-hander was on the mound again and little changed. Heller tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowed five hits, walked two and struck out four in another 2-0 win against Suburban Big Seven rival Blue Springs at home.
Dustin Brewer got the final two outs to close it out for No. 5 state-ranked South (14-6, 7-3). Blue Springs got at least one runner on base in six out of the seven innings. It got a runner to third base in three different innings, but the Wildcats were unable to come up with the big hit.
“Will mixed up his pitches well, but we didn’t have a good approach at the plate,” Blue Springs coach Tim McElligott said. “We’re not going to take anything away from him. We have to change our approach at the plate. Our heads flying out and out front shoulders are flying out. We’re not a home run hitting team. We have to learn to keep our front shoulder in and head on the baseball.”
South coach Ben Baier was especially pleased with the way Heller performed against their crosstown rivals.
“Will just got the job done,” South coach Ben Baier said. “He did a great job throwing strikes and mixing up his pitches. His curveball was really effective tonight and that really helped.”
Heller credited his defense for his repeat performance.
“I gave up a few hits and the guys behind me did a great job,” Heller said. “I was able to throw my curveball and fastball for strikes and let my defense do the rest.”
On huge defensive play came in the sixth inning. At the time, the Jaguars were ahead 1-0. Blue Springs had a runner on second with one out thanks to a South error. Luke Smith drilled a fastball from Heller to center field. Just when the ball looked like it was going to drop in for a base hit, center fielder Jared Ravencamp, who has a knack for coming up big in baseball and basketball games against Wildcats, made a diving catch and threw to second base to double off pinch runner Ramond Brown.
“He was sick as (heck) today,” Baier said of Ravencamp, who had a head cold. “So for him to make a play like that was a great thing to see. It was huge.”
Added Heller: “He’s just a competitor. He consistently makes plays like that for us.”
Meanwhile, the South offense did just enough to win. In the bottom of the first, Brewer singled and made it to second on Ravencamp’s sacrifice bunt. Allante Hall was hit by a pitch. He and Brewer advanced a base when starting pitcher Mason Eaton balked. Mammen brought in Brewer on a sacrifice fly ball to deep left.
In the sixth, the Jaguars added an insurance run when John Herrman doubled to lead off the frame. He eventually scored on Heller’s sacrifice fly.