The Blue Springs baseball team got a pair of strong pitching performances Friday but defensive troubles led to a split.
The Wildcats blanked Kearney 4-0 but then fell 5-4 to Liberty North in their first two games in the Metro Leadoff Classic at the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy.
Ethan Broker and two relievers combined to shut out Kearney in the opener. Broker allowed just three hits and worked around six walks while striking out four in 3 2/3 scoreless innings for the win.
Caleb Savage allowed just two hits and a walk in 2 1/3 innings of relief. Bryce Perdieu pitched a 1-2-3 final inning to seal the win.
Andrew Garry went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI to lead the offense. Payton Schmidt had an RBI double and Mitchell Smith was 1-for-2 with an RBI.
Blue Springs grabbed the lead with two runs in the third inning and added single runs in the fifth and sixth.
“Not a bad first game, especially for the first time at being at 90-foot bases and a full field,” Wildcats coach Tim McElligott said. “Pitching was good and we had timely hits. Great way to start the season.”
Only two of the five runs allowed by starter Aiden Smith and two relievers were earned in the loss to Liberty North.
Blue Springs, which had four errors, fell behind 3-0 but pulled within 4-3 after five innings. Liberty North scored one run in the top of the seventh and held off a Wildcat rally in the seventh.
Starter Aiden Smith allowed five hits, a walk and three runs (one earned) in four innings. Nathan England (one inning) and Perdieu (two innings) each allowed a run, though Perdieu’s was unearned.
“We might have been a bit frozen. It took us a bit to get going,” McElligott said, joking about his team’s slow start. “Aiden threw outs. We just have to make plays behind him. We could have played better defensively. We struck out 10 times, which put us in hole.”
The Wildcats managed only five hits, including a triple by Tanner Martin. Blake Stegner and Garry had RBIs.