Ideally, the Jefferson City Jays would like each game to end with no zeros on their half of the scoreboard.
They came close Tuesday night.
Jefferson City scored at least one run in five innings in a 7-4 victory against the Rock Bridge Bruins at Vivion Field.
"That's probably the first thing I said is, 'Guys, look at the board,'" Jefferson City coach Kyle Lasley said. "Consistency, one through seven. Having that consistency, that's what we need to do. That's the team we are, is making sure we're putting pressure on those teams every inning."
That consistency earned the Jays a 4-0 record against Class 6 District 5 opponents. The Jays have wins against Capital City, Helias, Sedalia Smith-Cotton and Rock Bridge. The other three teams in the district (Blue Springs, Blue Springs South and Waynesville) have a combined record of 27-43.
The Jays were ready for the challenge Tuesday against the team with the best winning percentage in the district.
"The energy in the dugout, the energy all game was right there,"Lasley said. "That's where we need to be."
The first two times the Jays got the leadoff man on, the sacrifice bunt was automatic.
Connor Earleywine sent a line drive to right field in the third inning and made it to second on Taylor Hopkins' bunt.
Joe Hoerchler followed with a gapper to left field to score Earleywine, making the score 2-0.
Jefferson City added to the lead two batters later when Nick Williams' line-drive single to center field plated courtesy runner Hayden Wells.
It was a similar start to the fourth inning for the Jays, who got a leadoff single from Jacob Duke on a ball hit through the middle of the infield.
The Jays methodically moved Duke around the base paths with a Jeremy Parks sacrifice bunt, an Eli Moreland ground out and an Earleywine single to right field on a fly ball.
"The small ball stuff we were very good at tonight," Lasley said. "We executed."
But that wasn't going to be enough to beat the Bruins (16-9), who entered the game 4-0 in the Central Missouri Activities Conference.
Justus Poppa grounded a ball up the middle for an RBI single, Austin Stewart screamed a double to center field for an RBI and Andrew Hill tied the game at 4 with a single to left field that plated a pair of runs off Jays lefty Jacob Roettgen.
Roettgen came back with a strikeout to strand to runners in scoring position. Then he retired the side in order in the sixth and struck out the only batter he faced looking in the seventh.
"He got it back there late," Lasley said. "The biggest one was getting that first out of the seventh inning. That's usually the hardest one to get in a game like this. He went right after him and got him with the breaking ball."
The Bruins got a pair of singles off Lucas Caudle, but a pop fly left runners at the corners.
Roettgen struck out seven and walked two while allowing four earned runs and six hits.
"He's a guy that's never gonna back down from anything," Lasley said. "If I went out there he would say he'd want the ball. I knew he would settle back in. Sometimes he gets frustrated out there, but he's getting better at controlling his emotions."
Reece Clapp started on the mound for Rock Bridge, allowing four earned runs and seven hits with four strikeouts and two walks in four innings.
Roettgen helped his cause in the fifth with a leadoff single on a line drive to center field.
Courtesy runner Tanner Schmitz got to second on a balk, stole third and scored after Wyatt Fischer flew out to center field for the go-ahead score.
Earleywine and Roettgen accounted for half of Jefferson City's eight hits.
A hit by pitch, three walks and an error added two insurance runs in the sixth.
Jefferson City (17-10, 4-2) will play a pair of games Saturday at Kickapoo before hosting Blair Oaks next Tuesday and Gateway Legacy next Wednesday ahead of district tournament play.
"Hopefully we'll see some good arms," Lasley said. "This time of the year we just want to keep seeing live arms and getting at-bats."