It took a while for Capital City to build a lead. It didn't take long for Centralia to tear it down.
Five singles and three errors led to a half-dozen runs in the sixth inning as the Panthers rallied to defeat the Cavaliers 7-6 on Thursday at Capital City High School.
The Cavs were creeping toward a victory in the regular-season finale prior to the sixth inning.
Carlos Ayala hit his first of three singles with one out in the second inning and ended up scoring when a throw from the catcher to third base sailed high, tying it at 2.
"For the most part I thought we swung it well," Capital City coach Brett Skinner said. "We had guys on, plenty of chances to score."
The first three Cavs reached base in the third inning on a Brett Kuebler single up the middle, a Colin Flaherty walk and a Brock Miles deep fly ball to right-center field for a double that scored Kuebler.
Miles matched Ayala's three hits, smacking two doubles and a single.
"They're gonna put a barrel on it," Skinner said. "You know you're gonna get a good at-bat out of them, that's for sure."
Courtesy runner Zach Brown made it a 4-2 game by crossing the plate on a Justin Sullens sacrifice bunt.
In the fourth, a line-drive off Miles' bat got over the leaping third baseman to increase the lead to 5-2.
Capital City (4-19) entered the sixth inning leading 6-2 thanks to a Taggert Bodenstab sacrifice fly.
But the first two Panthers reached base in the sixth and a high throw to first base on a double-play attempt powered on the conveyor belt.
A low throw to first base on a ground ball led to a run, Jackson Wells scooted a slow grounder through the right side of the infield for an RBI single, Adam Hatton singled to center field on a line drive and the score was tied after a run scored on an error on the play.
"Just trying to do too much instead of just taking taking the easy outs," Skinner said.
Lane Mathews drove in the go-ahead run with a soft fly ball to center field for a single.
A dropped infield popup and a Miles double down the left-field line put the Cavs in business in the bottom of the sixth, but Kile Chitwood retired the next three batters and only allowed one baserunner in the seventh.
Chitwood pitched four innings, allowing two earned runs and four hits with two strikeouts and a walk for Centralia (16-8).
For Capital City, Trey Jennings pitched two innings, Flaherty went four innings and Cooper Rowden kept Centralia from adding a run in the seventh inning.
Caydin Engelbrecht and Kuebler each had two hits in an 11-hit attack for the Cavs, who left 12 runners on base.
"They've been doing better offensively at the plate, so that's good to see," Skinner said.
Capital City is the No. 7 seed in the Class 6 District 5 Tournament, which begins Monday at Liberty Park Stadium in Sedalia.
The Cavs will take on the No. 2 seed Rock Bridge Bruins at 1:15 p.m. Monday, with the winner advancing to face either No. 3 seed Blue Springs South or No. 6 seed Sedalia Smith-Cotton at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinals.
The district championship game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday.
"We're going to have to play clean defense," Skinner said. "You can't give Rock Bridge free bases and free outs and give them runs. We're gonna have to put together one of the best games we've played all year. We're capable, just got to do it."