Braden Jurgensmeyer gives Jaguars boost to break 10-game skid
Blue Springs South relief pitcher Braden Jurgensmeyer entered Friday’s baseball contest against crosstown rival Blue Springs in an unfamiliar situation.
Jaguars head coach Ben Baier elected to pull starter Michael Powell early after he surrendered two runs in the first inning without recording an out. The senior, who said he had “struggled a little bit” this season, gave his team the boost it needed.
Jurgensmeyer helped the Jaguars stop the bleeding as they came into the game on a 10-game slide. He tossed six innings and allowed just one run on one hit, walked two and struck out five during a 10-3 Suburban Big Eight victory.
“I don’t think the 10-game losing streak displays our team at all,” Jurgensmeyer said. “Our team has the capability to beat any other team. Everyone was in a slump and everyone was struggling a little bit. We just had to find it and keep it rolling.”
Trent Martin hit an RBI single and Cole Gibler scored on a wild pitch to give Blue Springs the early 2-0 lead.
Jurgensmeyer entered and got a pop-out and a double play to end the threat.
“I am really proud of that effort,” Baier said of Jurgensmeyer’s outing. “It gave a chance to rest some of our pitchers. We were short-handed. We played 10 innings on Wednesday and that ate up some arms. It was a big outing for him and he really helped us out today.”
The only run the senior gave up came in the third inning after two walks led to an RBI groundout from Blue Springs freshman Lincoln Stephenson. Jurgensmeyer showed sharp fastball command and kept the Wildcats off balance, allowing just six baserunners in six innings, one of which came after an error.
“My fastball was working pretty well the whole game and I started feeling my curveball toward the end,” Jurgensmeyer said. “I couldn’t keep on top of it early and kept hanging it. But I finally got control of it at the end.”
Meanwhile, Jurgensmeyer’s offense provided him plenty of run support. Jaguars freshman Grant Hollister ripped a bases-clearing double in the top of the third to give South a 3-2 advantage.
After Blue Springs (13-18, 3-11 Big Eight) tied it in the bottom half of the inning, South scored two runs in the fifth to pull ahead for good. Senior Quinton Robertson scored on junior Gavin Williams’ sacrifice fly, and sophomore Trenton Roehler drove home sophomore Cole Chace on a sharp line drive double to left field.
“The competitiveness and the energy (was different),” Hollister, who was 3-for-5 with five RBIs, said of Friday’s performance compared to the last 10 games. “The dugout was even bringing energy and so were the guys who weren’t playing.
Jurgensmeyer worked around an error in the fifth and a hit batter in the sixth to continue his gem. South (12-15, 6-7) then put it away with a five-run seventh.
Roehler, South’s No. 7 hitter, got things started with a home run that he drilled over the left field fence off Blue Springs relief pitcher Joey Gibler. After crossing home, Roehler was greeted by his teammates and Roehler yelled to teammate Isaiah Frost, “What did I say?”
Actually, what did Roehler say?
“I was talking to Isaiah and I told him I was going to put one over (the fence) on the next (at-bat),” said Roehler, who was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
No. 9 hitter Jordan Austin later hit a two-run shot over the right-field fence, and Hollister continued his big day with a two-run double hit to deep left field. Hollister also pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh to close it out.
“Those guys have potential,” Baier said of Roehler and Austin. “We are working on having good at-bats and not swing at stuff out of the zone. They had two good at-bats right there.”
For Blue Springs coach Tim McElligott, his team has a lot of work to do, he said.
“We have to have a better approach at the plate,” said McElliott, whose team had just three hits. “(Jurgensmeyer) was locking in and we were swinging at a lot of first pitches. We should have worked the count a little bit better.
“Give him credit. He came in a tough spot and got a couple of ground balls to stop a real big inning for us.”