By Jason Peake
Taking advantage of numerous extra outs along the way, top-seeded Webb City rode a pair of big innings to a 15-5 run-rule victory over second-seeded Carthage in the championship game of the Class 5 District 11 baseball tournament on Tuesday night at Joplin High School.
The Cardinals used a four-run third inning to take control before a seven-run fifth blew the game open.
"Our kids were really focused today," Webb City coach Garry Highfill said. "They were loose and ready to go. They came out and did what we asked them to do. They competed well."
The Cardinals advance to the sectional round of the state tournament, where they'll host either Willard or Lee's Summit West Tuesday night at Barnes Field.
Judging by the team's postgame celebration, it's safe to say the Cardinals are thrilled to be moving on.
"Being a senior, I wanted to go out with a district championship, so this is awesome," Webb City left fielder Manuel Peskar said. "Winning with the boys feels awesome because we've worked hard all season."
The Cardinals scored the first three runs of the game and never trailed against their close rival.
"Carthage won the district last year, and we knew we were seeing one of their top arms today," Highfill said. "We knew the importance of scoring early. We did a good job of battling early."
Carthage committed nine errors in the field.
"We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot, and we didn't make the routine plays," Carthage coach Mike Godfrey said. "We kept making mistakes, and that was frustrating and disappointing. We didn't play very well, and you have to play well against good teams."
Webb City (17-11) recorded 13 hits, with seven differentplayers contributing. The Cardinals were also aggressive on the base paths, stealing seven bases.
"We were so hyped for this game," said Peskar, who went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, two RBI and two stolen bases. "We were all hitting, we kept it rolling and put some runs on the board. I was confident in our pitching and defense."
Webb City's Treghan Parker went 3-for-5 with two RBI, while Cale McCallister drove in three runs on two hits and Cade Beason had two hits, two RBI and scored twice. Devrin Weather scored twice and drove in a pair of runs.
Sophomore right-hander Cole Gayman earned the victory after allowing five runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings with a pair of strikeouts. Senior righty Alex Bass pitched the final 2 1/3 innings and allowed just one hit while striking out three.
Kale Schrader went 3-for-4 with two RBI for the Tigers, while Trason Vogt, Zeke Sappington and Tanner Green contributed one RBI apiece.
Senior southpaw Ian O'Malley took the loss, but he allowed just three earned runs in four innings. Schrader surrendered two earned runs in relief.
Webb City pushed across a run in the bottom of the first inning when McCallister slapped an opposite-field run-scoring single into left.
Carthage stranded the bases loaded in the top of the second and the Cardinals extended their lead in the bottom half when Kade Hicks reached on an error and came home on Peskar's run-scoring single through the right side. Peskar later scored on Weathers' RBI groundout.
Carthage got on the board in the top of the third, as Schrader lifted an RBI triple into right before Sappington added a run-scoring single through the left side.
In a four-run third, Webb City took advantage of five Carthage miscues in the field to push across two runs before Peskar and Weathers both contributed run-scoring singles, giving the Cardinals a 7-2 cushion. Carthage scored three runs in the fourth, highlighted by Vogt's RBI triple, to trim the deficit to two runs.
In the seven-run fifth, Parker and McCallister both hit two-run singles, while Beason contributed an RBI single before runs scored on a passed ball and an error. Up nine runs in the sixth, Beason smacked a game-ending RBI single into right, setting off the celebration.
"We knew Carthage wouldn't lay down," Highfill said. "Our guys did a good job of answering when they came back. It was important for us to keep scoring runs, and we did that."
Joplin Globe 05/15/2019 (Used by permission)