Helias falls apart late, ends season with loss to Camdenton

Todd Buschjost of Helias takes a swing during Class 5 District 9 semifinal game against Camdenton at Vivion Field.

Todd Buschjost of Helias takes a swing during Class 5 District 9 semifinal game against Camdenton at Vivion Field. Photo by Kris Wilson.

It looked like a typical Helias ball game.

The Crusaders were playing solid defense and getting decent pitching to go along with just enough offense to take a 3-0 lead into the sixth inning of Monday’s Class 5 District 10 semifinal game against the Camdenton Lakers at Vivion Field.

Then the wheels came off for the second-seeded Crusasders as the sixth-seeded Lakers scored twice in the sixth, then piled on four in the seventh on their way to a 6-4 victory.

“We fell apart, we totally fell apart,” Helias coach Chris Wyrick said. “We’ve been getting away with an error here or there and all the walks, but tonight, it caught up with us. We did not deserve to win that game.”

For the Lakers, it was the second straight seventh-inning rally for a victory in the tournament. On Saturday, Camdenton scored four in the last inning to edge Jefferson City 7-6.

Lakers coach Mark Moulder isn’t all that surprised his team has advanced to Wednesday’s district title game against Rock Bridge.

“I think this arguably was the tougest district in the state, top to bottom,” he said. “Any of the six teams, if they got a break or got hot, any of us had a shot. I was confident we were capable of it, we just needed to execute and so far we’ve done that.”

Camdenton needed just three hits, all singles, to score its six runs as Helias walked four batters and committed seven errors in the final two innings.

In the sixth, Cory Simpson hit a one-out single, He moved to second on a walk before an infield error loaded the bases. Simpson then scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-1. One out later, Kyle Rizer singled to make it 3-2.

The Lakers scored their four runs in the seventh on one play. A walk and two errors loaded the bases with nobody out. After the Crusaders got a force out at the plate, Dylan Hymes hit a single to left. The ball bounced off the glove of the Helias player for an error, then the cutoff throw to the plate got past the catcher for a second error. And when the throw to third in an attempt to get Hymes sailed into the outfield, the Laker senior scored on Crusader error No. 3 on the play.

“We lost our aggressiveness on defense and we couldn’t play catch,” Wyrick said. “That’s all we preach and we did neither.”

Helias had a chance to tie or even win it in its half of the seventh.

Jared Bentlage led off with a double before Cole Distler walked. Trevor Schnieders then hit a double to the base of the fence in right-center to score Bentlage and move Distler to third.

Helias’ next two batters grounded out back to the mound. Jordan Backes then walked to load the bases before a forceout ended it.

“They took advantage of our mistakes and we didn’t take advantage of theirs,” Wyrick said. “They made five errors and we only got four runs out of it. We didn’t have much killer instinct.”

The Crusaders scored single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings.

In the third, Cole Distler singled to score Joe Reinkemeyer. Reinkemeyer then brought home Backes on a grounder in the fourth. In the fifth, Distler led off with a dobule, moved to third on an error before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Alex Barton.

Schnieders worked the first six innings for Helias. He allowed six hits and five walks while striking out five. Distler took the loss in relief for the Crusaders, who end the season at 14-5.

Jacob Decker was the starter and winner for the Lakers, giving up seven hits and no walks while striking out four through six innings. Simpson pitched the seventh.

Helias had defeated Camdenton the last two years in the district semifinals.

“We thought may be they had our number, but we kept competing and scratching and perhaps get that lucky break or two and we did,” Moulder said. “We kept grinding and stayed with it and gave ourselves a chance.”

The Lakers (11-9) have now knocked off the No. 3 and No. 2 seeds, with top-seeded Rock Bridge waiting in the title game. Camdenton dropped an 11-5 decision last month to Rock Bridge in the Camdenton/Lebanon Wood Bat Tournament.

“That’s a very talented team with a lot of strong arms and sticks that’s well-coached,” Moulder said. “We’re going to have our hands full, but we know we’ve knocked off two fine teams to get there and we’re going to keep at it.”

Rock Bridge (21-5) defeated fourth-seeded Hickman 7-3 in Monday’s first semifinal.

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