The ending of the Blue Springs Rod Sports A’s 12-2 win over Quincy (Ill.) Post 37 was a mystery to A’s manager Mike Rooney.
Rooney, however, found nothing mysterious in the way the A’s hit the baseball to cruise to the American Legion Wood Bat Invitational Pool B victory Friday at Hidden Valley Park.
Play was halted after the A’s had made it a 10-run game with no outs in the bottom of the fourth inning. According to tournament rules, the mercy rule takes effect when there’s an eight-run margin after five innings – or 4 1/2 innings if the home team is leading. Rooney said he had “no idea” why play was stopped.
“I thought it was eight (runs) after five,” he said.
Unofficially, the A’s had 15 total hits when play was stopped. According to Rooney, they’ve hit the ball well all season long. In the tournament, they posted double-digit hit totals in their other two pool play wins and collected eight hits during their 2-1 loss to Elsberry Post 226 on Thursday at Grain Valley High School.
“We’ve swung the bat fairly consistent all four games,” Rooney stated.
C.J. July led the A’s offensively by going 3-for-3, including a second-inning double. Batting seventh, the 2017 Blue Springs High School graduate and soon-to-be Kansas State University sophomore walk-on helped the bottom third of the lineup finish a combined 6-for-9.
“We just have so many hitters that everywhere through our lineup is just such a threat,” July said.
Other A’s with two hits included leadoff hitter Ray Paniagua, who graduated this spring from Blue Springs and will attend Kansas City Kansas Community College this fall.
“I think when I get on base or (other) people early in the lineup do, it just … starts something and everybody else hits and keeps going,” Paniagua said.
Both of Paniagua’s hits were doubles. The first one sparked a six-hit, six-run first inning.
“It was a perfect pitch and I just smacked it,” Paniagua said.
The A’s answered a run by Quincy in the top of the second inning with two runs in the bottom of the second. They answered a run by Post 37 in the top of the third with three runs in the bottom of the third.
Paniagua doubled to start the fourth, moved to third on Dustin Brewer’s infield single and scored on Jake Lufft’s double. And then, play was halted.
“Walking up to the plate, I heard that we only needed one run,” Paniagua said. “So I was, like, ‘OK, let’s get it in. Let’s get that one run.’ ”
Zane Barr earned the win.
The A’s advanced as a wild card to Saturday’s quarterfinals and will meet Jefferson City Post 5 at 10 a.m. The winner advances to Sunday’s 11 a.m. semifinals. The tournament championship is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday.