Grain Valley capitalizes on favorable bounces to hold off Fort Osage

Cody Thorn
The Examiner

Baseball is a game where sometimes the bounces and breaks go your way.

Grain Valley had two of those go in its favor and that helped the Eagles pull away for a 4-3 Suburban Middle Six victory over Fort Osage.

Monday’s game featured plenty of heroics, but perhaps none bigger than what Alex Snyder did in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Fort Osage had the tying run at first base after Blake Williams drew a two-out walk against Grain Valley relief pitcher Kaden Jeffries.

On a 1-2 count, Zach Tillman got a hold of pitch and sent it sailing into right field. The ball started to move from its initial trajectory due to wind gusts of nearly 20 mph. Snyder stayed with it and reached up and snared it in his glove to end the game.

Williams was around second base, headed for third and would’ve easily scored the tying run from first base had the ball not been caught by Snyder.

“I told the guys after the game that was as big as a grand slam to win it,” Grain Valley coach Brian Driskell said of the catch.

On the mound, Jeffries watched the final play unfold.

“He hit it and I thought it was just a normal hit and it kept moving,” Jeffries said. “Alex out there made an amazing play to save my butt.”

The game-ending play gave the Eagles a fifth straight win, while the Indians lost for the third straight time.

The play in the seventh inning was big, but the outcome was decided in the sixth.

The Eagles (14-6, 4-0) turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead thanks to a well-placed hit.

Parker Stone drew a one-out walk off new Fort Osage pitcher Brayden Nelson and took second base on Snyder’s single. Jacob Grasher drew a walk to load the bases.

A ground ball to Nathan Oakes at first base turned into a force out at home. With two outs, the Indians (6-12, 3-2) were close to escaping with the lead.

Then, Parker Bosserman hit a pop fly down the third base line that landed just safely inside the line between the third baseman and left fielder.

Snyder and Grasher scored to give the Eagles the lead again.

Cole Keller followed with a single to load the bases again and Jeffries hit an RBI single, but the inning ended with Bosserman being thrown out at home.

“It was in the perfect spot,” Fort Osage coach Todd Bissell said of Bosserman’s hit. “A little more one way it’s foul, or a little more the other way it is caught and we are out of the sixth inning with the lead still. That is the way baseball goes.”

In the bottom half of the inning, Jacob Hasty came up with a big play at the plate after tagging out Bosserman at the plate. The Fort Osage sophomore belted a solo home run to left field with one out to trim the deficit to the final score, 4-3.

In the bottom of the fourth, Fort Osage took a 2-1 lead on Oakes’ RBI double that brought home courtesy runners Kaden Ford and Nelson, who ran before going in to pitch.

Greg Menne threw a solid game on the mound for the Indians, working five innings, scattering six hits and striking out two. Grain Valley stranded nine runners in the win.

In the top of the fifth inning, the right-handed hurler worked around a one-out triple by Avery Garmon – which was followed by a walk and a hit batter to load the bases.

Keller got the victory on the mound fanning seven through five innings and giving up only two hits.

“Keller is a heck of a pitcher,” Bissell said. “I was happy how we competed. We haven’t seen too many (pitchers) like that this year. We did a good job of getting some runs across and giving ourselves a chance at the end.”