Yes, Lee’s Summit pulled out a dramatic come-from-behind extra inning victory April 11. A little more dramatic than it should have been, perhaps.
Lee’s Summit had a four-run lead on Blue Springs South after a four-run fourth inning. Then the Jaguars wiped it away with an error-enhanced five-run sixth.
So when Spencer Parker scored the tying run in the bottom of the seventh inning and legged out a two-out walk-off single in the 10th for a 7-6 victory at Legacy Park, the feeling among the Tigers was more relief than joy.
“Each of us had an inning defensively where everything went wrong,” Lee’s Summit coach Jim Mellody said. “We hadn’t had one of those yet this year. We survived it barely, came back and won.”
Lee’s Summit survived thanks to Parker, a senior outfielder who saved the best of his three-for-five, two-RBI day for last.
Parker led off the seventh inning with a double off Blue Springs South reliever Caleb Israelite and scored the tying run on a groundout.
In the 10th, after a leadoff single from Gabe Howayek, two sacrifice bunts and walks from Grant Baird and Jason Kostelnick to load the bases, Parker lined a ball to right field where Blue Springs South’s Derek Mammen was playing shallow enough to make a short throw to first base.
Parker beat the throw, and Howayek raced home with the game-winning run.
“I was just trying to put the ball in play, trying to help my team and get a run in,” Parker said. “And it worked out.”
Mellody said Parker and Kostelnick, who walked before Parker’s walk-off hit, were the two Tigers he wanted up in that situation.
“Spencer hit that kid hard the last two times up, Mellody said. “So I had a pretty good feeling. When I did see the right fielder come up throwing, I did have a little lump in my throat.”
A suspenseful ending seemed unlikely after Lee’s Summit broke a 1-1 tie with a four-run, five hit fourth inning. The Tigers had three runs and four hits before making an out and benefitted from a dropped fly ball in right field.
Howayek singled home the first run, Grant Heizer followed with a bases-loaded walk and Baird and Parker added RBI singles for a 5-1 lead after the Tigers brought 10 batters to the plate.
Lee’s Summit starting pitcher Joe Vandenbos, meanwhile, got through the first five innings holding Blue Springs South to four hits and no earned runs. That changed quickly in the sixth, when two singles and a bad-hop error on a ball to shortstop Quinton Carlberg led to the first run.
A second straight infield error brought home another run, as did an RBI-single that chased Vandenbos. Kostelnick relieved and gave up a two-run single up the middle from Dustin Brewer that put the Jaguars up 6-5.
“We just didn’t make a few plays and we kind of let it spiral,” Parker said. “It got worse before it got better.”
Parker made everything better in the 10th for Lee’s Summit, which handed Blue Springs South its first defeat of the season. The Tigers stood 9-2 overall and 4-0 in the Suburban Gold Conference before playing Park Hill April 12.
Mellody wouldn’t mind seeing less self-induced stress the rest of the season.
“I think we definitely made it harder on ourselves,” Mellody said. “I prefer not to do that.”