For six innings Monday afternoon at Grain Valley High School, visiting Lee’s Summit North starter Dameon Velasquez and the Eagles’ Max Chapman were dealing on the mound.
Velasquez, who was pitching to contact, struck out six and allowed just one unearned run and three hits. Meanwhile, Chapman allowed just one unearned run on one hit, and had eight strikeouts.
It was a 1-1 pitching duel before the Broncos put four runs on the scoreboard against reliever Parker Bosserman in the top of the seventh to claim a 5-2 victory.
“It’s funny, the seventh inning was almost as long as the first six,” Broncos coach Mike Westacott said after his team improved to 3-5 with the non-conference win. “We kind of scuffled last week, and to come over here and get a quality win against a quality group of kids like Brad (Driskell) has at Grain Valley is pretty special.
“Both pitchers were just outstanding and we did a few little things to get some runs in the seventh. For a while, I was thinking this game just might keep going the way the starters were throwing.”
North’s Jaxson Hill opened the seventh with a single off Chapman, who was then relieved by Bosserman.
An infield error put runners on the corners, but Hill was thrown out at the plate by catcher Caden Matlon, who retrieved on a wild pitch and threw it to Bosserman, who was covering home. He applied the tag, keeping the score 1-1.
But it didn’t stay tied for long as T.J. Nichols reached on an error and Logan Adams walked. Nichols scored on a wild pitch and Tanner Yeisley hit a solid single up the middle to give the Broncos a 3-1 lead.
“We had to do something to give Dameon the lead because he had pitched such a great game,” Yeisley said. “Their guy pitched a great game too, but we finally got some offense off their reliever.”
Dylan Lankford then walked, and Andrew McLaughlin walked with the bases loaded to make it 4-1. Lane Overton picked up a painful RBI as he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to pad the lead to 5-1.
The Eagles scored a run in the bottom of the inning as three consecutive singles by Christian Lynn, Seth Dankenbring and Bosserman loaded the bases. Mason Rogers then collected an RBI single.
The Broncos’ T.J. Nichols came on in relief and got the final two outs to preserve the win for Velasquez.
“T.J. is the man in that situation,” Velasquez said. “I have total confidence in all my teammates. They played great defense behind me today and we scored some runs in the seventh and got the win.”
While he was not happy with the outcome, Driskell was thrilled with Chapman’s performance.
“That’s Max’s first varsity start and if he keeps throwing like that, we’re going to get a lot of wins with him on the mound,” Driskell said after the Eagles fell to 1-2. “They got some hits in the seventh and we weren’t able to get the big hits when we needed them.
“Every team is basically in the same boat because of the weather (in preseason practice), but I have never had a team that’s less prepared than this one because we haven’t been able to get out and practice outside.
“Lee’s Summit North is a very good team, and this was a great game for six innings. I was proud of the way Max pitched. We’re going to be fine once we get a few more practices and games under our belts.”
Chapman walked away from the game with the confidence that he can be an important part of the Eagles staff.
“I felt good out there today, and the guys did a nice job supporting me in the field,” Chapman said. “I felt confident and am really looking forward to my next start.”