Big ball and small ball proved to be Lee’s Summit West’s undoing Thursday night.
Francis Howell combined the two-home-run power of Kyle Grantham and a pair of well-placed bunts to generate the offense it needed to beat the Titans 6-1 in a Missouri Class 5 state baseball semifinal at CarShield Field.
Grantham displayed his power early when he took a Dusty Stroup pitch and deposited it on the Stan Musial porch in right field in the top of the first inning. In the fifth inning, he sent another Stroup pitch over the Musial porch and gave Francis Howell a 5-0 lead.
Grantham’s first blast was the only run Stroup surrendered until Francis Howell touched him for three more on three hits in the fourth. A hit batsman and a double by Louis Wildschuetz brought home the first run. Back-to-back squeeze plays — a sacrifice bunt by Chase Beiter and a bunt by Joseph Land that rolled wide of Lee’s Summit West’s first baseman — brought home two more.
A single, two walks and a bases-loaded hit batter brought home another run for Francis Howell in the sixth.
The Titans, meanwhile, struggled to find a rhythm against Francis Howell starter Jacob Kostyshock, who held the Titans to four hits while striking out nine.
Lee’s Summit West stranded two runners each in the second, third and fourth innings before finally getting on the board in the fifth. Ben McClain doubled with one out, reached third on a throwing error and scored on a fielder’s choice.
“The opportunities we had, we didn’t move runners over,” Lee’s Summit West coach Jay Meyer said. “They got some big base hits and Kostyshock threw well.”
Lee’s Summit West, 23-11, will play Lindbergh for third place at 10:30 a.m. on Friday.
Lindberg lost to Jefferson City 7-4 in Thursday’s other semifinal.