Raymore-Peculiar baseball coach Gary Renshaw found inspiration for his underdog team in another district tournament.
Renshaw took heart when he heard that Staley, which came into its district with only one loss, saw its season end with a loss to sub-.500 Park Hill South. Could the Panthers catch 22-5 Lee’s Summit off guard and pull off the same thing in the semifinals of the Class 5 District 13 tournament?
“I was kind of hoping,” Renshaw said. “We’d had two really good games the first two times we played them. We pitched pretty well but we just couldn’t get those key hits.”
Ray-Pec couldn’t get any key in the third meeting, and the Panthers saw their 7-20 season come to an end with a weather-delayed 6-1 loss May 14 at Ray-Pec. Ten days earlier, Ray-Pec lost to Lee’s Summit by the same score in eight innings.
And Lee’s Summit won the first meeting 1-0 last month, one of seven one-run losses the Panthers suffered this season.
The common factor in all three losses was a lack of timely hitting. That was especially true in their district showdown, when Ray-Pec could muster only four hits and one walk off three Tiger pitchers.
“And that’s been our season,” Renshaw said. “We’ve gotten some hits, but they’ve been spaced out.”
Shortstop Joe Schoenemann had two of Ray-Pec’s hits, including a leadoff double in the fourth inning that set up the Panthers’ lone run. Schoenemann advanced to third on a groundout and scored on Ashton Paith’s sacrifice fly to center field.
But Lee’s Summit, which was the home team with the higher seed, had already staged a two-out, three-run rally in the bottom of the third that started when Joe Vandenbos hit a ball that slipped past Ray-Pec third baseman Zach Gwynne. Grant Baird walked, and Cameron Pudenz and Jason Kostelnick followed with back-to-back RBI singles. Pudenz later scored on a wild pitch.
“They scored three runs with two out because we don’t field the ball at third base,” Renshaw said. “And that was the turning point.”
Lee’s Summit added three more runs on four hits in the fourth as a light rain started to pick up. Lightning strikes after Ray-Pec batted in the top of the sixth prompted a one-hour delay before Tigers reliever Grant Heizer struck out the side in the seventh.
Offense wasn’t a problem when Ray-Pec opened district play with a 12-3 victory over longtime rival Belton. Ray-Pec had 15 hits against the Pirates, including a grand slam by Gwynne in the sixth inning.
“You like to win that first one and give your team a shot,” Renshaw said. “Just the way our season went it was nice winning that game and getting to play another one today.”
Donald Brouhard drove in two runs for Belton, which ended its season with an 18-11 record.
Harrisonville’s season came to an end with a 14-6 loss to Warrensburg in the first round of the Class 4 District 13 tournament at Odessa. Harrisonville was 7-13-1 for the year.
Sherwood was ousted by No. 1 seed Summit Christian Academy 12-2 in the semifinals of the Class 3 District 14 tournament at Holden. Sherwood (9-13) reached the semifinals with a 5-4 victory over South Harrison in the first round.
Drexel lost to Sheldon 19-9 in the first round of the Class 1 District 8 tournament at Northeast Vernon County.