OZARK — The Jefferson City Jays turned the page Saturday.
A day after allowing five runs in the first inning and six in the second against the Fort Zumwalt West Jaguars, the Jays put five on the board in the first and a pair in the second on their way to defeating the C.B.C. Cadets 12-1 in six innings in the Class 6 third-place game at U.S. Baseball Park.
"Yesterday, guys were just a little too tense," Jefferson City coach Kyle Lasley said. "You can't play tense and you can't play with anxiety. They were a lot more loose and just played and had fun."
The run support was nice, but Jefferson City left-hander Case Hager didn't need quite that much.
Hager froze the Cadets three times after the fourth inning in an nine-strikeout performance.
"Probably a little bit of it was them guessing at times because he was pitching backwards," Lasley said. "But a lot of it was just his location and hitting spots. (Catcher) Joe (Hoerchler) called a really good game like he has all year."
Kyle Byrne doubled and scored after Andrew Baughman drilled a liner off Hager's glove for infield single in the first inning, but just three hits followed the rest of the way for C.B.C., which ends its season at 23-12.
Hager allowed five hits and walked three in six innings.
"He was locked in," Lasley said. "He's just one of those guys that's just a competitor. If he can locate and command his off-speed, he's a pretty big threat."
Jefferson City saw eight pitchers in the game, getting at least one hit off half of them.
Connor Earleywine finished with three of the Jays' 10 hits from the leadoff spot, scoring twice.
Earleywine screamed a triple to the left-field gap and Taylor Hopkins matched it with a fly ball to the wall in left-center for a 6-1 lead.
"Yesterday, he had it kind of set in his mind what he was going to be doing," Lasley said of Earleywine going 0-for-3 in the semifinal. "You've just got to let the game come to you. Your swing and your approach will come throughout the game and today he was able to use all fields like he has all year."
Hopkins added a single and two runs scored.
Hopkins crossed the plate in the second when Hoerchler reached base on a dropped third strike, which was a wild pitch, making the score 7-1.
The scoring began with Jacob Roettgen driving a pair of runs with a single to right field.
Roettgen added two more RBI in the third with a hard ground ball that one-hopped to the second baseman, who was unable to handle it in time.
That put the Jays ahead 9-1.
"To score some runs, to get my arm moving a little bit, yeah that was good," Lasley said.
Jefferson City (23-14) added three runs on an error, a bases-loaded walk and a wild pitch in the sixth.
C.B.C.'s Nazzan Zantello doubled to deep right field with one out in the first and scored the Cadets' lone run. He also singled and walked.
Nick Chapo and Aaron Levenson each pitched a scoreless inning for C.B.C., with Levenson striking out two Jays and allowing a hit in the fifth.
With the large lead, Jays seniors Tanner Schmitz, Jacob Duke, Brayden Whittle and Lucas Caudle were able to enter the game late.
Jefferson City graduates 12 seniors, including Ethan DuBois, who doubled in Roettgen for a 3-0 lead. He also walked twice and scored twice.
"It should last for a long time," Lasley said of the impact the seniors had on the program. "They know how hard this group worked in the offseason. For them to be a part of this is something special, but they can't be satisfied as sophomores, juniors, of knowing that we had a good team this year and be OK with that. The work begins next week on Monday when we get back in the weight room."