(KMOV) -- Let's take a quick look at the road of these teams as they have now punched their ticket for Springfield.
The Francis Howell Vikings (30-3) used their booming bats and big innings in both wins this week. They scored 3 runs in the 3rd and four runs in the 5th to break open the game as they handled CBC 8-3. Jake Ivory led the hitting parade with a 2-2, 4 RBI performance. In the State Quarterfinal, trailing 3-1 after 4 innings, the Vikings followed the same winning recipe as they scored 5 runs in the 5th and six more the next inning to hand SLUH (24-1) their first defeat of the year 12-3. Case Munson's two home runs and six ribbies broke open this game. Listen to both of these replays- Howell vs CBC; Howell vs SLUH. The Vikings have a familiar foe waiting for them.
The Vianney Golden Griffins are no stranger to the final four nor are they unfamiliar with the Howell Vikings. Trips to the Final Four in 2002, 2004 and 2006 have resulted in Championships in 04 and 06 all under Coach Steve Bieser. This year, veteran Coach Scott Brown in his first year will face a Viking team that scored 7 runs in the 7th in mid-April to edge his team 13-10 in a slugfest. Vianney (25-8) has quite an offense itself. Knocking off a high flying Eureka team in sectionals 9-3, Matt Brown delivered the key blow- a 2 run HR. In the quarters, Cape Central scored 2 runs in the top of the first only to see Vianney answer with 3 runs of thier own in the bottom half. The 2 run HR by Zach Knese provided a four run cushion of 6-2. Cape battled back and cut the lead to 6-4 but fell a bit short. Listen to both replays-Vianney-Eureka and hear the Vianney-Cape Central game.
The Ozark Tigers appear to be peaking at just the right time. The Tigers won both games in convincing fashion. A 9-1 win over Webb City in the Sectional knocked out one of the perennial powers. Landon Snyder went the distance as he surrendered only two hits. Meanwhile, Michael Headlee went four for four, 2 RBI's to set the Tiger offense in action. Traveling across the state to Wentzville for the quarterfinal, the Tigers had just about a carbon copy of the first game of the week as Ozark beat Timberland 8-1. The eleven hit attack featured four different players with two hits. The pitching duties were also split as Cody Holzer and Andy Westfall gave up just four hits in the contest. Listen the replay of Ozark-Timberland.
The Liberty Bluejays (27-5) bounced Raytown (17-11) 9-5 in the Sectional game. The Bluejays offense ran on high gear as they scored in 6 of the 7 innings. Lucas Norton and Taylor Uhlmann went back-back HR in the 2nd inning to set the tone for the day. The Quarterfinal game against Ray-Pec (21-9) was an extra inning thriller. This see-saw battle had the Panthers scored 4 runs in the bottom of the 3rd. Liberty answered with 5 runs in their next at-bat. Taylor Uhlmann's huge grand slam was the big blast. Ray-Pec scored four more runs in the bottom of the 4th to hold an 8-5 lead after 4. The Bluejays tied it at 8-8 in the 5th. Ray-Pec loaded the bases in the 7th with one out but a strikeout and fly out sent this one into the 8th. Given this reprieve, Liberty scored four times in the extra inning to take home a 12-8 win. Liberty will be making their 4th trip to state with their last being in the STATE championship year of 2002.
At the top of the bracket, Kennett (24-2) dominated each of their two wins this week. Scoring ten runs in the first inning, the Indians overwhelmed Herculaneum (9-14) 11-0 in five innings. Herky had one hit in this abbreviated ball game. In the quarterfinal, Kennett followed a similar script with an 8-2 victory over Lutheran North (16-10). The Indians scored the first five runs of the game as they punched their ticket for the first time for the Final Four. The 24 win total establishes a new school record at Kennett. The Indians talented pitching staff now faces the #1 ranked team in Class 3 in the semifinals.
The Westminster Christian Academy Wildcats (25-4-1) breezed past Lutheran St-Charles (21-7) in the sectionals 14-3 in a 6 inning game. Tate Matheny's prolific day at the plate broke this game wide open for the Wildcats. He was four for five, a double, HR, scored two runs and get this-- 8 RBI's. WCA scored 13 runs in the lst 3 innings as Luth SC actually led 3-1 through three innings. In the quarterfinal game, it was one big inning for WCA. A nine-run outburst in the 2nd inning proved to be too much for Kirksville to overcome. The 9-5 win for WCA moves them into the Final Four. The last Final Four trip for Westminster was 2007.
The bottom half of the Class 3 bracket had tighter, lower scoring games. Springfield Catholic (23-4) edged Mt Vernon (16-10) 5-3 in the Sectional game. In the quarterfinal game, each team brought in a record of 22-4. The Fighting Irish grabbed a 5-0 lead over Boonville but struggled to hang onto an exciting 5-4 win.
Having to wait 8 days between the District title and Sectional game didn't seem to deter the Savannah Savages(23-2). Maybe, it actually helped since it broke a recent trend. Savannah had not won a post-season baseball game since 1992 but had been in the state tourney in 2008 and 2009. In each of those years, the Savages were bounced out in the first round. Not this time around...Savannah topped Excelsior Springs(16-11) 7-1 in sectional round play. Brett Smith's 3-run triple in the 5th was the key hit of the game. Savannah 's strong pitching continued as they shut out Clinton (19-8) 3-0. The Savages have permitted only 1 run thus far in the tournament!
Class 2 saw its top three rated teams bite the dust in the first two rounds of state. At the top of the bracket, the Charleston Bluejays (16-9) won their THIRD consecutive post-season win with runs in the bottom of the 7th in the 6-5 sectional win over Malden. Malden had raced out to a 4-0 lead only to succumb to the never-say-die Bluejays. Charleston scored five runs in the 5th to snatch a 5-4 lead only to see the Green Wave tie it up until the last inning heroics. Charleston scored its winning run on a passed ball. The quarterfinals had the Bluejays facing the #1 ranked Valle Catholic Warriors(22-6). James Naile was tremendous for the Bluejays as they shut out Valle 1-0. Naile silenced the normally potent Warrior bats to just five hits in the shutout win. Charleston scored the only run of the game in the 5th when they used a walk, a single (only one of 3 Bluejay hits) and a sac fly to drive home the lone tally of the game. Charleston makes their first trip to the Baseball Final Four.
New Bloomfield(17-4) glided by Brentwood (16-7) in the sectional game. The quarterfinal game against Elsberry (14-8) was a up and down battle. New Bloomfield took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the 6th behind starter Kolby O'Dowd, Elsberry punched across two runs to tie it. The Wildcats used key hits from Skyler Lucas and Jake Rieken to take a seemingly comfortable 5-2 lead into the bottom of the 7th. Elsberry wouldn't go away. The Indians scored two more runs but fell short as New Bloomfield advances to the Final Four under first year coach Brandon Talbot.
The Cabool Bulldogs(21-4) , who have set a school record for wins in a season, stunned highly ranked Conway 3-2 in 11 innings in the sectional game. However the Bulldogs would fall 2-1 to Clever(17-11) in the quarterfinal game. Clever scored unearned runs in the first and third innings to advance to Springfield. David Pennewill hurled a four-hitter for the win. Coach Marty Little will wrap up his 28 year career in the Final Four as the leads the Clever team against Summit Christian.
Summit Christian (22-8) shocked Stockton(20-3) in he quarterfinal game 5-2. SCA used a two-run home run by Matthew Verschelden and three unearned runs to jump on the bus headed for Springfield. Summit Christian had knocked off Platte County 4-2 in sectional round play.
The Oran Eagles (23-2) couldn't be stopped by two tough opponents OR Mother Nature. In the sectional game, rain halted play in the 3rd inning of the Oran-Cooter game. When play resumed the next day, Oran scored first and built up a 5-0 lead. That would prove to be enough offense for the Eagles. Kody Moore pitched all 4.3 innings in relief to gain the 5-2 victory over the Wildcats (21-5). Cooter had plenty of opportunities as nine runners were stranded during the game. The quarterfinal game was a slugfest--27 runs, 19 hits, 4 home runs, 3.5 hours, a nine run inning! It was finally settled by a grand slam HR in the 7th by Alex Heuring as Oran outlasted Naylor 14-13. Heuring's brother, Alex, blasted two home runs for the Eagles as they survived the nine-run Naylor 3rd inning.
Surprising most observers, Liberal (19-4) beat the highly ranked, Dora Falcons(24-2) 7-5 in the quarterfinal game. Liberal's 5-2 win over Lakeland (12-8) in the quarterfinals had not provided any clues that this upset was in the making.
St Elizabeth (14-5) used their big, booming bats to pound Lincoln 19-0 in sectional round play. Austin Rehagan pitched a no-hitter in this easy win. The loss should not diminish the thrill of Lincoln winning the district title for the first time in 21 years. St Elizabeth would have a totally different type of game in the quarters. The Hornets scored four runs in the 8th to hand Northeast-Cairo its first loss of the year 8-4.
Laplata (19-2) find a sure-proof way of making sure that you advance to the Final Four. It's easy-- just don't let your opponents score!! Easy...yea, right! Well, Laplata shut out Brunswick (10-4) 10-0 in the sectional and Concordia (20-5) 9-0 in the quarters. Hayden Fouch scattered four hits, struck out ten in leading the Bulldogs back to the Final Four for the 2nd time in three years in the win over Concordia.
There you have it...we're all set for the Final Four in all Four classes. Prepcasts will bring you all the seminfinals on Friday of the Class 3 & 4 games. On Saturday you can hear the Championships and Class 4 - 3rd place game. It's www.prepcasts.com for all your high school play-play!