The old saying of good things happen when balls are put in play certainly applies to the Jefferson City Jays.
"We worked a lot the last couple days of just two strike approach and shortening up our swings and just putting the pressure on the defense," Jays coach Kyle Lasley said Saturday after a 7-4 loss to C.B.C. and a 12-5 win against Lee's Summit West.
The Jays scored in each of the first three innings against C.B.C. to lead 4-0. But the strikeouts caught up to them and the Cadets rallied for two runs in the sixth and seventh innings before closing it out with three runs in the eighth.
Jefferson City only struck out seven times against the Titans and drew eight walks, compared to 11 strikeouts and three walks against the Cadets.
Those extra base runners did damage for the Jays, who got RBI singles from Joe Hoerchler, Nick Williams and Wyatt Fischer during a four-run fifth inning.
Williams scored the game's final run when Jacob Duke reached base on a dropped third strike with the bases loaded.
Hoerchler went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a walk, while Williams had a single, a walk and two RBI in the middle of the Jays' order.
"We've got to be able to put pressure on the defense because we can be very effective on the bases if we get guys on," Lasley said. "We're a pretty good base running team."
Jefferson City got behind 3-0 in the second, but the Jays manufactured a pair of runs in the third and put six more on the board in the fourth to lead 8-3.
Ethan DuBois drove a fly ball to left field for a two-RBI single to cap the fourth-inning scoring.
"He's been swinging it well in practice and we wanted to see what he could do and he came up big," Lasley said. "He's a guy that's right there, especially when Wyatt pitches, for that outfield spot because he can swing it."
Fischer retired the side in order in the first and fourth innings of his five-inning outing. He allowed five runs (three earned) and four hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
Jacob Duke finished the game on the mound, allowing just one hit, walking two and striking out one.
Fischer and Duke got assistance from Hoerchler, who ended the second inning by throwing out a runner attempting to steal second and put a cap on the game the same way.
Against C.B.C., Case Hager cruised into the seventh with a 4-2 lead but reached the pitch limit after recording the first out. Hager struck out seven, walked one and allowed four runs (two earned) and seven hits.
"Case was really good," Lasley said. "He pitched about as good as he could."
Connor Earleywine had two hits and an RBI, while Parks added two hits against the Cadets.
"We just had some really good quality at-bats," Lasley said of the start of the game against C.B.C. "Guys just put the ball in play. We did really good job at two strike approach."
Jefferson City (8-2) will begin play Thursday in the Jays Baseball Classic, facing Eureka at noon and Pembroke Hill at 6:45 p.m.
The tournament will continue Saturday with Jefferson City taking on Gateway Academy at 10 a.m. to conclude pool play.