With one swing of the bat, Lee’s Summit North leadoff hitter Dameon Velasquez ended an afternoon of frustration.
His two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the sixth inning gave the Broncos an 8-6 win at Blue Springs South Wednesday afternoon.
The Broncos were the home team because the game was moved from North to South because the Jaguars have a turf playing field and the Broncos’ field was unplayable because of the recent heavy rain.
The Broncos took a 6-2 lead into the sixth inning when the Jaguars erupted for four runs, with Isaiah Frost’s two-run triple the key hit of the inning.
“They came back and tied the game in the top of the (sixth) inning and it was important that we did everything we could to get the lead again in the bottom of the inning,” said Velasquez, the Broncos’ designated hitter who finished with three RBIs, a sacrifice fly and the game-winning hit. “It was kind of weird being the home team over here at South, but we were all so happy to play that we didn’t care where we played the game.”
The bottom of the sixth started with two sensational defensive plays by the Jaguars as pitcher Bret Shelton slid into first as he caught a throw from first baseman Brady Strickert to retire Lane Overton on a bang-bang play at the bag.
T.J. Nichols then doubled to right field, but the relay throw from left fielder Jaylon Johnson to second baseman Caleb Israelite to third baseman Johnny George gunned down Nichols as he tried to stretch it into a triple.
Shelton then walked two batters. Reliever Jay Greco entered the game and walked the bases loaded, setting up Velasquez’s heroics, as his base hit skipped off the glove of a jumping Israelite at second base.
“Dameon has been Mr. Clutch for us all season,” Broncos coach Mike Westacott said after his team improved to 8-14 overall and 2-7 in the conference while ending a five-game losing streak to the Jaguars a four-game skid this season. “If their second baseman was an inch or two taller, we might still be playing. This is a good win for the guys. They worked hard and came back and scored the winning runs after they scored those four runs to tie the game.”
North starter Tucker Nunnenkamp ran up a high pitch count and left the game after allowing just two runs in 5 1/3 innings. Reliever Jake Johnson, who picked up the win, was in the middle of that four-run sixth inning.
But Johnson retired the Jaguars without a run scored in the top of the seventh to secure the win.
“You’re not going to win many games when your pitch count ratio is 75 strikes to 71 balls,” South coach Ben Baier said after his team fell to 13-8 and 5-3. “We didn’t get it done on that little circle in the middle of the diamond – and if you don’t get good pitching, you don’t have much of a chance of winning in this conference.”
Jaguar pitchers allowed 11 hits, walked eight and hit two Bronco batters.
“I am proud of the way our guys fought back and tied the game in the sixth,” Baier said. “But they had way too many base runners.”
The Broncos had runners on second and third in the first four innings and first and third in the fifth before the big two-run sixth inning.
Nichols finished the game with a single and double and Logan Adams added two singles and an RBI for the Broncos.
Frost paced the Jaguars with the double and triple, two runs scored and two RBIs.