Before the start of Truman’s Class 4 sectional baseball game at Park Hill High School, Patriots coach John Eglich had a heart-to-heart discussion with his team.

Before the start of Truman’s Class 4 sectional baseball game at Park Hill High School, Patriots coach John Eglich had a heart-to-heart discussion with his team.
“We’d played Park Hill twice in the regular season – and they scored 24 runs against us, nine here and 15 at home – but I told the guys that wasn’t going to happen today.
“I told them that Tommie Harris was going to keep the ball down, they were going to pound it into the ground and we were going to field it and win.”
Eglich was prophetic on two counts. Harris did keep the ball down and the Trojans did pound it into the ground.
But three Truman errors led to four unearned runs and Park Hill claimed a 5-3 come-from-behind win to put and end to a 15-9 season that was so filled with promise.
“I’m so disappointed for Tommie’s sake,” Eglich said. “It’s the kid’s second start of the season and he just goes out and gives it everything he has.
“We get the early lead, then we can’t hold it for him. And that last inning, well, we made the kind of mistake you don’t see in the box score.”
Trailing 5-3, Dillon Amaya hit a one-out double. John Hayes then lofted a fly ball to left field, that Park Hill’s James Vega lost in the hazy sky. Amaya went to third on the play with Hayes staying at first base.
Pinch hitter Mitch Kilpatrick then hit into a game-ending double play.
“We should have had runners on second and third,” Eglich said as he walked to the team bus for the long ride back to Independence. “That’s the game. If we have runners on second and third, there’s no double play and Dillon probably scores on the ground ball and we have the tying run on base with (leadoff man) Kyle Gehrs coming up with a runner in scoring position.
“Mistakes. We made too many mistakes to win this game.”
Truman took an early 1-0 lead when winning pitcher Danny Jesser attempted to pick off Jamie Hayes at first base with two outs. Tyler Bodenstab was on third base, and he sprinted home to score before Hayes was tagged out.
Jake Sobbe, the son of longtime Park Hill activities director and coach Bill Sobbe, then knotted the score at 1-all with a bases-loaded ground out. His grounder might have been an inning-ending double play, had the ball not been dropped at second after forcing the runner.
Brian Read, the star of the game for the Patriots, then gave Truman a 3-1 lead in the top of the third with a two-out, two-run single.
He then gunned down a runner at third base in the bottom of the inning with a throw from right field that drew rave reviews from Eglich.
“Brian came to play today and he comes to play every day,” Eglich said of the sophomore. “I wasn’t surprised when he threw to third and got the runner. He has that good of an arm.”
It was the biggest defensive play of the game for Truman.
Park Hill scored three runs in the fourth inning. All three were unearned as the Patriots made two errors – including a costly throwing error by Harris.
“I take all the blame for that error,” said Harris, who knocked down a hard-hit line drive up the middle by Vega. In an attempt to get Vega at first, Harris threw the ball away, allowing two runs to score.
“I’m so mad at myself,” Harris said. “I never should have thrown the ball, but I was trying to get the out. That was a big play. I’m pretty happy with the way I pitched. At least I was able to keep us in the game, but that play really turned that inning around.”
The Trojans scored their lone earned run in the bottom of the sixth on a walk, stolen base and two-out single by leadoff man Nick Hughes.
“That was their only legit run,” Eglich said. “Tommie pitched well enough to win the game. He gave us more than we could expect. It was really hot and humid out there, and he battled and battled.”
The Patriots had a chance to knot the score in the top of the sixth inning when Read doubled and went to third on a wild pitch with just one out.
But Jesser retired the next two Patriots on a strikeout and ground out.
“We have to find a way to get that runner home from third in that situation,” Eglich said.
Read and John Hayes had two hits each for Truman.