There was no shortage of offense Tuesday night at Jefferson City High School.
The Battle Spartans and Jefferson City Jays combined for 23 runs on 27 hits, but the Spartans held on late for a 12-11 victory in Central Missouri Activities Conference play.
“Any time you score 11 runs, you should probably win the game,” Jefferson City coach Kyle Lasley said. “But you give up 12, so. We just needed a little better pitching and defense. Hopefully we can continue to swing the bat like that.”
The Jays got their bats going early, as they loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the first inning.
Zac Arnold drove in Ethan Lipp on a fielder’s choice, Ryan Tadsen plated Jordan Martin and Arnold with a double to deep left and Mason Wall drove in the final run of the inning on a sacrifice fly to give Jefferson City a 4-0 lead.
“That’s what we got to do,” Lasley said. “We want to score first and put pressure on the other team. We have to do a better job of being able to maintain the lead.”
Battle’s offense turned it on in the second and it would be awhile before the Spartans turned it off.
They cut their deficit to 4-3 with a three-run second and took a 6-4 lead after another three-run third -- highlighted by a two-run home run to left field by Raye Kennon.
“Credit to them, they hit the ball,” Lasley said.
Jefferson City answered right back with a three-spot of its own, though, as Wall drove in courtesy runner Ethan Garnett on a groundball and Brody Johns picked up two RBI with a double to left-center to score courtesy runner Drew Heller and Cole Heller.
The Spartans continued to hit the ball hard to start the fourth, as a walk, RBI single and another two-run home run -- this time by Brenden Alton -- led off the frame and put Battle back in front 9-7.
Lasley made a call to the bullpen to follow, ending Arnold’s day on the mound after three-plus innings with nine earned runs allowed.
“Zac didn’t have his best stuff today, left too many balls over the middle of the plate,” Lasley said. “A lot of 0-2 pitches, 1-2 pitches, being left over the middle of the plate. When you do that, you can do some damage to some balls.”
Luke Bauridl replaced Arnold on the mound and was able to work out of the fourth without any further damage, but some errors would cost Bauridl in the fifth.
The Jays made two errors in the fifth and Battle made them pay for it by tacking on three unearned runs to extend the lead to 12-7.
“You just have to hope your defense can make a play behind you and get you out of an inning where things are starting to escalate,” Lasley said. “We didn’t do that.”
The Spartans returned the favor with a couple errors in the bottom half and Jefferson City took advantage this time, as Tripp Maassen drove in Drew Heller and Martin plated Johns and Maassen with a single to right-center to close the gap to 12-10.
“Hopefully the guys can continue to fight and compete,” Lasley said. “And that’s all we ask day in and day out. Compete, compete. Every inning, every pitch, every time you step in the box. At least give yourselves a chance.”
Lipp entered to pitch in the sixth and worked the first 1-2-3 inning of the contest to keep it a two-run game.
And Tadsen continued his hot hitting at the plate, as he connected on a 2-2 fastball and drove his second home run in the past five games over the left-field fence.
“We had a long talk in Georgia and he has kind of changed his approach a little bit,” Lasley said. “… Hopefully he can continue to do that and stay within himself.”
Lipp held the Spartans off the board again in the seventh and Jefferson City was able to get the potential winning run to the plate in Martin after Maassen singled with one out.
Martin connected on the first pitch he saw, but it was a hard one-hopper to the second baseman, who flipped to Kennon at short to start a game-ending double play.
“Even there in the last inning, you have the guy that you want up at the plate with a runner at first, a really good runner at first,” Lasley said, “but you can’t expect everything. I would take him nine out of 10 times. That one time tonight just didn’t happen.”
Tadsen led the way for Jefferson City (9-5, 2-2 CMAC) by going 3-for-4 with three RBI, while Martin added three singles and two RBI.
Kennon led the way for Battle (7-9, 1-0) by driving in four runs and adding two hits.
The Jays will look to rebound at 3:30 p.m. today on the road at Class 3 No. 2 Valle Catholic (11-1).