High School District Tournament play was more than predictable this week, thanks to a high number of twists, turns, upsets, rallies and outstanding pitching.
In CLASS 4 tournament play,
District 1, the #1 seed, Farmington (who had drawn consideration for top ten status, draws a bye in round one then gets slugged by Sikeston 12-5. On the bottom half of the brackets, it was a wild see-saw semifinal game. Jackson falls behind 7-1, then erupts for 8 runs in the 4th to grab a 9-7 lead. Cape Central (16-9) has to score one run in the 6th and two runs in the last inning to edge Jackson 11-10. This game saw 25 hits (14 for Jackson, 11 for Cape Cen), Jackson was led by Ramsey Scott's three hits(including the game winner). In the championship game, Scott had three more hits as Cape scored 7 runs in the first 3 innings and won 8-6. Cape will play the Cinderella team of Class 4, Hillsboro, in the sectionals.
Seeded #8 in District 2, the Hillsboro Hawks came into the tourney with a 9-14 record, and in their last game prior to district, lost 15-3. The top seed, the Oakville Tigers (18-9) were their first opponent and they were throwing their ace, Chad Gendron. Things looked like the curtain was coming down on the 2011 season. Not so fast big boy! Behind the strong pitching of Justin Deckard (5 innings-7 strikeouts) and Jordan King (2 innings), the Hawks shocked everyone with a 5-3 win. In the semis, the Hawks maximized their six hits and bunched some of them into a 4 run, 3rd inning to beat Mehlville(11-17) by the same 5-3 score. In the championship game, Hillsboro kept their magic alive. Forced into a ten inning game, the Hawks scored five runs again and edged Seckman 5-4.
The District 3 championship was maybe the most entertaining of Class 4. #1 seeded Vianney (23-8) won their first two games over Roosevelt and Kirkwood as expected. Summit (13-16) upset the #2 seed, Lindbergh (16-11)in the semis 6-3 as five Flyer errors proved costly. The title game won by Vianney 11-10 with four different lead changes! In only three of the fourteen team innings were scoreless!. It was a thrilling, offensive game as the Falcons outhit the Golden Griffins 13-11 but Vianney popped three round trippers over the boards. Jake Walters, Jack Klages and Ryan Snyder all their their trips around the bases for Coach Scott Brown. Listen to this replay Vianney-Summit. The Golden Grifs will be facing a team that has caught fire at the plate in sectionals.
District 4 had high hopes of some great baseball games. The Eureka Wildcats dashed those hopes with some incredible hitting. In the opening round, Eureka and Marquette (15-12) dueled to a 10 inning game. The Wildcats scored 4 runs in the 10th to win 7-3. That tenth inning seemed to ignite the Eureka bats! For the remaining games of the tournament, they just kept hitting! In the semis, Eureka sent 13 batters to the plate and scored 9 runs in the first inning as they blasted Parkway South (22-5) 16-1. The hit total-19-2 and the score really does indicate the tenor of the game.Listen to this replay Eureka-Parkway South The Championship game saw Eureka shut out Lafayette(19-9) 10-0. The hit total 10-3 again depicts the strong play of Eureka. Listen to that replay Eureka-Lafayette
District 5 had #1 seed and still unbeaten at 23-0, St Louis U.High glide to easy 10-0 wins over U City,in semis, and 13-1 over Ritenour (18-9) in the Championship game. The JR Bills surrendered only 4 hits in the two games! Brian Howard threw a 3-hitter in the semis and Sasha Kuebel twirled a 1-hitter. Tough to lose games with that type of pitching!
In District 6, Hazelwood Central (12-10) fought to two tight wins. In the semis, both teams did all their scoring in the 2nd inning as the Hawks toppled McCluer North(8-14) 4-2. Central used four pitchers and just four hits to snatch this win. In the title tilt, #1 seeded Central outpitched the #2 seeded Hazelwood West Wildcats 2-1. Jonathan Harris was very efficient as he gave up only four hits, struck out four and walked only two in the win. Jared Fosdick was the tough luck loser.
Pattonville (18-6) opened up play in District 7 with an 11 inning win over Parkway Central 4-3.However in the semis, the Howell North Knights (19-12) upended the Suburban North Champions 4-2. On the other side of the brackets, CBC crossed the plate seven times in the 3rd inning to defeat DeSmet 7-3 in the semis. It was the 4th time this year that the Cadets had beaten a strong 15-10 DeSmet team. In the Championship game, delayed a day by rain, the stout pitching of Brennan Devers kept the potent Knight bats in check as the defending class 4 champs beat North 6-1. Devers permitted only five hits in the championship win. Mike Ehrard set school records with his 10th home run of the year and 3 ribbies in the game. Listen to this replay CBC-Howell North. A tremendous opening round sectional game is on tap as CBC faces the 28-3 Francis Howell Vikings.
Tony Perkins did have his anxious moments as the Vikings won the District 8 tournament. In the opening round, the Vikes had to score three runs in the 5th to edge St. Dominic (16-9) 5-4. It should say something about the caliber of this district that the #8 seed brought 16 wins into the game! After an easy 7-0 semifinal win over Ft Zumwalt North, Howell (28-3) fell behind 4-0 to a 21-9 Ft Zumwalt East team in the first inning. Howell tied it in the 4th and took the lead with a single tally in the 6th. Jake Ivory and Case Munson each had two hits to lead the Howell attack.
District 9 was another shocker! The #1 ranked Rock Bridge Bruins were upset by the Timberland Wolves (18-10) 2-1 in 8 innings. A HR by Beau Burkett in the 7th was the only offense that the Bruins could muster. His blast sent the game into extra innings. The outstanding pitching of Shane Cooper, allowing only 3 Bruin hits, for 7 innings and the perfect 8th by Zach Gonzalez pushed the #1 ranked team out of the State Tournament.
It'll be Timberland's pitching versus the scorching bats of Lebanon. The Yellowjackets fell behind 7-0 and later it was a 9-4 deficit (after 6 innings) to Helias in the Championship game of District 10 but they weren't out of it by any means. Scoring 13 runs in the 7th and the 8th, the Yellowjackets win an 8 inning game by the unusual extra-inning sounding 17-11 score! Ace Justin Bryant had pitched Lebanon past the #1 seeded Jefferson City Jays 2-0 in the semifinals. So, it looks like both teams went deep into their pitching charts in this wild championship game.
In District 11, Ozark fought off rallies in the 7th inning in two consectutive games. In the semifinals, the Tigers carried a 4-0 lead into the 7th after scoring three runs in the 6th. The Branson Pirates scored three times in the 7th but the game ended 4-3 with the tying run on first base. The loss ended the career of Coach Steve Lael (24 years). Up 7-0 in the Championship game and seemingly coasting home, Ozark saw a replay as Kickapoo pushed across 6 runs in the 7th but fell just short as Ozark continues to ride their 15 game winning streak with a 7-6 win. Blake Martin led the Tigers at the plate with a 4-4 performance. Waiting for the Tigers are the Webb City Cardinals.
A familiar tune with the Cardinals (20-5) continues to ring out as they won the District 12 tourney. The brilliant pitching of Tyler Burgess led the top seeded Cardinals to a 2-0 Championship win over #2 seed, Williard (22-6). Burgess, now 9-1 for the season, glided into the 7th but Williard threatened with two base hits with one out. A sparkling pivot by SS Breckin Williams helped convert the game ending DP. Interestingly, Ozark and Webb City are both in the Central Ozarks Conference but did not play each other in the regular season.
District 13 had another #1 vs #2 battle, the Ray-Pec Panthers bounced out the Rockhurst Hawklets 9-5 in the Championship game. After starting slowly three of their first four games and were just 3-6 after nine games, the Panthers have now shoved their record to 14-8 with the win.
The top seed of District 14 was pushed to the limit in the opening and semifinal round. Lee Summit West edged Smith-Cotton 6-5 in round 1 of District. A 2-1 win over Lee Summit was the semifinal score. But, the #2 seed, Blue Springs South had too much offense for LSW as the grabbed the district throne with a 10-5 win.
Following a similar path in District 15 to 14 was the Raytown Bluejays. However, the Bluejays had a happier ending. Raytown edged Wm Chrisman 2-1 in the opening round. Winnentonka fell 4-3 to the Bluejays in the semifinals. The #2 Bluejays topped the #5 seed, Ft Osage 6-1 in the championship game.
Rounding out the Class 4 play was District 16. To no ones' surprise the #1 seed, the Liberty Bluejays won it all. The Bluejays won the opening round 7-2 over Platte County, Park Hill fell 13-4 in the semis and the big battle against Staley was won by Liberty 11-8.
Now it's crystal ball time.....I'm going to stick out my neck here and tell you which teams I think will be the final four. I'm going with Eureka, Francis Howell, Webb City and Liberty to land in Springfield in the Final Four. There are a few "upsets" here so I'm rolling the dice by going with my "gut" feelings. Anyway it goes, it'll be great baseball. Prepcasts will have three sectional games on Monday, four on Tuesday and more quarterfinals on Thursday.
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