Blue Springs South starting pitcher Matt Olsen used some verbal pick-me-ups to help him get the win Friday afternoon against Lee’s Summit North.

Blue Springs South starting pitcher Matt Olsen used some verbal pick-me-ups to help him get the win Friday afternoon against Lee’s Summit North.

Early in the Suburban Big Six baseball meeting at North, Olsen said he felt that he “was struggling a little bit.” But Olsen’s coaches reminded him to focus on his next pitch, rather than those he had made. After yielding a run in the first inning, Olsen held the Broncos scoreless the next four frames to get the decision in South’s 5-1 win.

Some encouragement from catcher Nate Goff helped Olsen, too.

“He came out to the mound a couple times,” Olsen said. “(He was) just like, ‘They aren’t hitting you hard. Just throw right in there.’”

Olsen said Goff has a calming presence whenever they have conferences at the mound.
“We’re best friends, so it’s pretty nice having him behind the plate,” Olsen said.

Olsen and reliever C.J. Egelston threw a combined two-hitter. Making his first pitching appearance this season, Egelston struck out five, walked two and yielded a single in two innings of work.

South coach Ben Baier admitted it’s been difficult for him to find innings for Egelston.

“I thought today was a good day, and he went out and did a nice job,” Baier said.

Egelston said his first outing “felt fine,” but it also was “a little different” because of the mound.
“The mound’s bigger than what we’re used to,” Egelston said.

Olsen and Egelston each got boosts from South’s offense. The Jaguars (14-4 overall, 4-3 conference) scored two runs in the top of the first, giving Olsen a lead when he went to work in the bottom of the first.

North  (8-10, 2-5) posted a run in the bottom of the first. But South gave Olsen additional run support with two runs in the fifth. Both runs were scored when designated hitter Gehrig Hudson reached base on a throwing error following his sacrifice bunt.

According to Baier, the scoring play tied in with something the Jaguars discussed during their postgame meeting: the importance of putting the ball in play and forcing opponents to make defensive plays.

The play inspired a different message from North coach Jeff Diekmann.

“I was telling our kids the disappointing thing was to give up two extra runs on a sacrifice play and not get any outs on it,” Diekmann said.

The Jaguars pushed across another run in the top of the seventh. The Broncos threatened to rally in the bottom of the seventh. But with runners on first and second and one out, Egelston tossed back-to-back strikeouts to secure the win.

“Give them credit. Their pitching staff did a nice job today,” Diekmann said.
Baier, in turn, gave credit to North pitcher Dalton Woods.

“I thought their kid did a great job on the mound,” Baier said.