The Lee’s Summit West baseball team could only watch Blue Springs South give the high-fives with smiles they wanted to give May 27.
Instead, it was hugs of consolation and thoughts of what could have been.
It’s not the way it was supposed to end for one of the two teams left with just three losses going into the Class 5 playoffs and a team laden with senior talent, but the Jaguars took advantage of the four West errors and claimed a spot in the Class 5 quarterfinals with a 13-5 victory in a sectional contest at Blue Springs South.
“They were easy to coach,” said West head coach Jay Meyer. “They’re frickin’ scholar athletes. They work in the office. I let them babysit my (dang) kids, that’s how good they are.”
The season-ending loss can’t be blamed on a lack of effort. Senior Monte Harrison even flipped over the center field fence trying to catch Colton Pogue’s three-run home run in the first inning.
“We’ve got a lot of heart,” said Meyer.
“I always feel good about our chances because they’ve never quit. We’ve never quit on them. The intent’s always there.”
To cut the Jaguars’ early four-run lead, Harrison drove in Ryan Kayhill and Logan Geha hit a sacrifice fly to score John Privitera in the bottom of the first.
The Titans could have gotten out of the top of the second inning unscathed. On a ground ball, pitcher Tyler Brough couldn’t hit shortstop Carson Pickard for a force at second. Brough got the next two batters out, and the inning could have been over.
The Jaguars capitalized, loading the bases, and then cleared them on a single by Patrick Lemberger where Kayhill misplayed the hop in right field. Lemberger would score to make it 8-2.
“They hit the ball real well early in the game. We were chasing a touchdown from the beginning,” Meyer said.
“We can’t afford to give away outs. That’s the way it goes. They hit the ball well. We gave them an extra out here and there.”
West clawed back in the game, getting a two-run single by Drew Anderson in the fourth. They loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but could only muster one run. Jaguar ace Reece Eddins struck out Ben Peterson for the second out. Grayson Handel legged out an infield single to score Harrison and cut the lead to 8-5, but Pickard went down swinging as well, as Eddins struck out seven for the game.
Senior Jake Lalumondier came in the second inning in relief after Blue Springs South battered Brough and held the Jaguars until the sixth, where they added three more runs with another error and then scored two more in the seventh. Lalumondier struck out five batters.
The first two Titan batters reached in the seventh for the beginnings of a rally, but they couldn’t put any more at-bats together.
The Titans end the season with a 27-4 record and will lose eight seniors from the squad.