Blue Springs Rod’s Sports A’s pitcher Jake Reed wasn’t used to throwing a lot of pitches in a game.
After all, he had only had one start in which he threw more than 50 pitches before Friday’s elimination game against St. Joseph Post 11 in the American Legion Zone 2 Tournament.
Not only did he start, but he tossed a season-high 92 pitches and performed well. He allowed just one earned run (two total) on six hits, walked two and struck out two to help keep the A’s season alive during 4-2 victory at Hidden Valley Park.
The A’s will play rival Blue Springs Post 499 Fike at 4 p.m. Saturday in another elimination game, with the winner advancing to the losers’ bracket final at 7 p.m.
Blue Springs almost didn’t have the opportunity to play another game this weekend as St. Joseph, trailing 4-1, loaded the bases in the sixth inning. Reed utilized a lightning quick pickoff move to get Tanner Schmidt out at second base.
“The pickoff play was huge,” A’s manager Tom Bush said. “That’s a play we work on. It’s a set play. The kids did it right.”
With Jacob Kuhn at the plate, Reed induced a ground ball but an infield error allowed Skyler Kanacsky to score, narrowing the gap to 4-2. Bush elected to bring in Christian Garcia to close out the game, and it turned out to be a good decision. The left-hander retired the only five batters he faced to earn the save.
“I prefer closing over starting any day,” Garcia said. “Not having to pitch all the time and not for a long period of time really helps out with my arm. With how intense the game was, I was focused on throwing hard and hitting the strike zone.”
Reed, who pitched to contact, was consistent and allowed his only other run in the fourth when Kanacsky doubled and Schmidt drove him home with an RBI bloop single to right field to tie it 1-1.
“When I was warming up, I was throwing strikes and I was grooving,” Reed said. “When I get into a good rhythm of pitching consistent strikes, I can get through my innings. I felt really good today.
“Throwing 80 pitches in my last start helped me here.”
The A’s took the lead for good in the fifth as Cade Bissell drove in the go-ahead run on an RBI single to right-center field. Jared Larson followed with a line-drive RBI single to center, and Garcia brought him home on an RBI double hit down the left field line.
“That definitely helped my ego a little bit,” said Garcia of hitting two doubles after being robbed of a two-run home run in an 8-5 loss to Sedalia Post 642 Thursday.
Added Bush: “(Garcia) has been our best hitter by far. I am going to miss him next year.”
Although Blue Springs has struggled on offense for most of the season, it did just enough Friday.
Bissell led the offense by going 2-for-4 with two runs and one RBI and Larson was 2-for-4 with a run and two two RBIs.
SEDALIA POST 642 TRAVELERS 4, LEE’S SUMMIT OUTLAWS 3: The Lee’s Summit Outlaws’ rally fell just short in the Zone 2 winners’ bracket final as Sedalia held on to advance to Sunday’s championship.
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Outlaws tied it on Jaxson Hill’s RBI single.
Sedalia, though, scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning on RBI singles by Duffin Makings and Brady Kindle to take a 4-2 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Outlaws put together three singles and TJ Nichols scored on an error to make it 4-3 with two outs. Hill, though, flied out to end the game.
The Outlaws drop into the losers’ bracket final at 7 p.m. Saturday against the winner of the 4 p.m. game between Blue Springs Post 499 Fike and the Blue Springs Rod’s Sports A’s. The winner of the 7 p.m. game advances to the championship against Sedalia at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Sedalia scored two runs in the top of the first before the Outlaws cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the inning on Wyatt Urzendowski’s bases-loaded walk.
Nichols suffered the loss, giving up all four runs (three earned) on eight hits and three walks while striking out six in 6 2/3 innings.