The domino effect took hold of the Blue Springs South baseball team early in its Class 5 sectional contest against Rockhurst Tuesday afternoon at the Kansas City Urban Baseball Academy.
The Hawklets never let go as the Jaguars could do little right in a season-ending 11-1 mercy rule loss to the Hawklets.
Despite a surprisingly bright sky that bathed the turf field in sunshine, a dark cloud hung over coach Ben Baier’s Jaguars as bobbled baseballs, miscues on the basepaths and mental and physical errors saw an uneven season come to a disappointing end.
“We’ve talked about this before – but not for a long time, because the guys have been playing so much better lately,” Baier said. “This is the type of baseball we were playing early on and in the middle of the season when one mistake would lead to another mistake.
“Mistakes, physically and mentally, too many walks, not being able to get the big hit – those were all things that hurt us today. They got the big hit. They made us pay for all of our mistakes and the best team definitely won today. I wish them well the rest of the way.”
The Hawklets jumped on starter Brady Strickert, who did not allow a run in five innings in last week’s 4-2 district championship win over the Eagles at Grain Valley High School.
The Hawklets scored solo runs in the first and second inning and added three runs on four hits in the third.
Rockhurst winner Luke Schafer – who allowed just three hits, including Strickert’s opposite-field solo home run in the fourth inning – broke the game open with a three-run homer off Matt Trout in the bottom of the fourth inning.
“We didn’t do the fundamental things today, the things that helped us beat Grain Valley last week – key hits, solid defense and solid pitching – and everything Rockhurst did was textbook,” Baier added. “It’s a disappointing way to end the season, but we have 12 guys back from the team next year and they’re going to remember how this loss feels and they’re not going to want to feel that way again.”
The 20-10 Hawklets took a 10-1 lead into the fifth inning when the third Jaguar error of the game put Chuck Ingram on base and he scored the final run on Jackson Wentworth’s double to center field.
“They got the hits, they pitched well, they did everything you’re supposed to do to win games like this,” South senior shortstop John Herrman said after playing his final game as a Jaguar. “We played so well last week, and we didn’t play well today and everyone saw what happened. No one wanted our season to end like this.”
Leadoff man Grant Geren and Herrman are the lone seniors for the Jaguars, who finished 17-13.