A stunning six-run first inning wasn’t enough for coach Ben Baier’s Blue Springs South baseball team.

The Jaguars needed to push across an unearned run in the third inning and get a solo homer from Derek Mammen — his second of the Class 5 District 14 tournament — to edge a relentless Blue Springs team 8-6 Wednesday afternoon at Reynolds Field in the Class 5 District 14 championship game.

The Jaguars will play the winner of the Rockhurst-Lee’s Summit District 13 game on May 22.

“When we scored those six runs in the first, I told our guys, ‘We need to add some more,’” Baier said, after his Jaguars won their third district title in a row, their fifth in the past six years and eighth in the last decade. “We had a nice inning, but against a great team like Blue Springs, we knew it wouldn’t be enough. And I want to give our guys credit — early this week we talked about the word of the week — ‘Poise!.’ And we really showed poise in that game.”

“Before the bottom of the seventh, I asked them what the word of the week was, and they went out and showed me.”

Reliever Dustin Brewer, who singled in his first three at-bats, scored three times and drove in two runs, retired perhaps two of the most dangerous prep hitters in the Kansas City area to close out the game — Jake Lufft and Caleb Marquez, who had each doubled and homered as part of the Wildcats comeback.

“I love Jake and Caleb,” said Brewer, who relieved winning pitcher Brandt Lightner, who allowed six runs in five-plus innings. “They’re two of my best friends. We play summer ball and I am so proud to have them as teammates on the (Rod’s Sports) A’s, but I knew that if we wanted to win, I had to get them out in the seventh.”

“They’re two of the best hitters I’ve ever played with or against. I hate it that they were the two last outs, but I am so happy we won the game. That team can hit, and we were able to outhit them today and beat them for the third time this season and win our third district championship in a row.”

Brewer coaxed Nick Brandner, Lufft and Marquez to all ground out to shortstop John Herrman, who turned in a sensational gameon defense, in the bottom of the seventh.

“My guys backed me up, and Blue Springs is a great hitting team and they just started hitting me in the sixth,” said Lightner, as the Wildcats scored four runs in the sixth on back-to-back homers from Lufft and Marquez and a two-run single by Logan MacKay.

“I still felt good out there. And I can’t say enough good things about the way the guys played behind me. This was a total team effort and Dustin did a great job getting out of the sixth inning and getting three tough hitters in the seventh.”

What was expected to be a pitchers’ duel was anything but as Wildcats starter Peyton Smith allowed six runs, while retiring just two Jags. He was relieved by Ryan Urfer, who allowed one earned run over the next 5 1/3 innings. Brandner pitched a scoreless seventh.

“Six runs in the first and all our hits were singles,” Baier said after his team improved to 19-8. “Peyton is a great pitcher and a great kid. We were able to keep the line moving with all our singles and everyone contributed.”

Brewer had two hits and scored a run and drove home two runs in the first inning.

“Peyton is such a great kid, but we were able to strings some hits together and knock him out in the first inning,” Brewer said. “I don’t think anyone anticipated that happening.”

Long after the game ended, Blue Springs coach Tim McElligott and Marquez talked about the tough loss that ended the team’s first 20-win season (21-11) since 2008.

“I’ve known most of the seniors on this team since they were in the fourth or fifth grade, and I’ll be honest with you, telling them goodbye after this game was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do,” said McElligott, as he sat next to MacKay and Smith in the dugout. “I love our guys. This was a special group of players — and I’m not just talking about our seniors — all these guys were special and I really thought we were going to come over here today and win.

“Peyton had a tough first inning. But we were able to fight back. A big key was that Jake and Caleb never came up to bat with men on base. They did a good job of getting the guys out before Jake and Caleb came up because that could have made it a different game.”

Marquez, who had two homers in the district tournament, lavished praise on his coach and teammates and had a friendly jab at Lufft.

“That guy always gets the first homer,” joked Marquez, as he and Lufft hit back-to-back homers in each of the past two district games. “I’m like, ‘Come on Jake, just get on base so I can get some RBIs.’”

“Seriously, though, the respect we have for Coach McElligott and all the guys on this team make this a special season even though it didn’t end the way we had hoped. South is a good team, and they found a way to beat us. But it’s tough to know this is my last game as a Wildcat. I don’t even want to think about that.”

Brewer, Jared Ravencamp, Allante Hall, Brady Strickert, Will Heller and Cale Sackwitz all singled in the first inning, with Brewer collecting two singles.

Grant Geren had a sacrifice fly in the third and Mammen hit his second homer in as many games in the sixth.

“At the time, it didn’t seem like that big of a run,” Mammen said, “but against a team like Blue Springs, you can’t score too many runs. They proved that tonight.”