Jays handle Lee's Summit, Lee's Summit North

To go 2-for-2

The Jefferson City Jays have started a trend of falling behind early in games.

But they’ve made a habit of having big innings to counteract the early trouble.

That trend continued Saturday as the Jays picked up a pair of comeback victories against Lee’s Summit and Lee’s Summit North at Vivion Field.

“Obviously I don’t like it,” Jefferson City head coach Brian Ash said. “I’d rather have the lead and just finish the game off that way. We talk all the time about being hard-nosed, resilient, and they are.”

To keep up with how the season has gone, the Jays spotted Lee’s Summit a 4-0 lead before rallying with a nine-run fourth inning to pick up a 10-4 victory.

After getting just one baserunner on in the first three innings, the Jays scored nine runs on seven hits and were aided by three Lee’s Summit errors to put the game away. They sent 13 batters to the plate as all nine runs came with two outs.

The inning started with a strikeout. After singles by Hayden Strobel and Brenden Ogletree, a forceout at third on a groundball left the Jays with two outs. But an infield single by Sam Atkinson kept the inning alive and Rylie Klosterman followed with a three-run double to right-center to cut the lead to 4-3.

Then, the wheels fell off defensively for Lee’s Summit. Three of the next four Jays reached on errors in the infield. After a single by Strobel, Ogletree put the Jays up 9-4 with a three-run triple just past the arms of the diving left fielder.

“We are fortunate enough now, we’re scoring it when we need to, scoring enough runs late,” Ash said.

Eight of the runs in the inning were charged to Lee’s Summit starter Jordan Cox, who couldn’t overcome the defensive problems.

Jefferson City added a run in the fifth on an RBI double by Alex Johnson to make the score 10-4.

“We seem to have that one big inning where we take the lead, then we shut the door down and the game’s over basically,” Ash said.

Steven Coots picked up the victory. He allowed four runs (two earned) in five innings on just three hits. Cameron Carroll pitched two perfect innings of relief in a game that was marred by defensive issues, as the teams combined for six errors, three on each side.

“Defense early in the games kind of lets us down,” Ash said.

The Jays finished with 10 hits as Brauner, Strobel, Atkinson and Ogletree all had two hits.

III

Different game, same situation for the Jays in the nightcap.

Jefferson City spotted Lee’s Summit North four early runs before shutdown pitching and a five-run seventh inning propelled the Jays to an 8-5 victory.

“Obviously the 8-5 game is not indicative of how the game was,” Ash said. “I’m proud of how they battled. They came back and found a way to win.”

The Jays trailed 4-3 entering the bottom of the sixth when the bats came alive. Johnson reached on a fielder’s choice, followed by a single by Brauner. Then, Beard was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

That set up the big blow as Strobel, Ogeltree and Gabe Marcantonio all smacked doubles to deep left-center to put the Jays up 7-5. A sacrifice fly by Atkinson finished the scoring as the Jays batted around in the inning.

All three doubles landed within feet of each other.

“None of those three were squared up,” Ash said of the doubles. “Couple on the handle. It just shows you the strength those guys have put on over the course of the year.”

The Broncos got a pair of runs in the first and second innings off Jefferson City starter Travis Hennessy to take a 4-1 lead. But sophomore right-hander Brett Jaegers came on in relief with two runners on and two outs in the top of the second. He induced a groundout to third, ending the inning with just two runs scored.

He did not allow another runner until the seventh inning when the Broncos brought the tying run to the plate. But Jaegers induced a flyout to center to end the game.

“Today he showed everybody on his team including the coaches we can count on him when we need him,” Ash said of Jaegers. “He doesn’t throw super hard but he mixes up three or four different pitches and can throw them all for strikes. When you can do that, it shows you right there you don’t have to throw 85 miles per hour.

“You can have a guy who’s hitting 75, but mixes it up enough and put some bad swings and get outs. He did a wail of a job today.”

Jefferson City scored a pair in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Ogletree and an RBI single by Marcantonio.

Marcantonio and Brauner led the Jays with three hits each. Strobel added two hits and three RBI as the Jays outhit the Broncos 10-7.

The Jays (12-2) play again Monday at home against Hickman. The game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.

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