Jacob Roettgen wanted the get start Saturday.
"I wanted it since we won the district championship," Roettgen, Jefferson City's senior pitcher, said. "I assumed I would get it and worked like I would get it."
Kyle Lasley wanted Roettgen to get the start Saturday.
"We knew it the minute we won the last game, put it in the senior's hands," the Jays baseball coach said.
Roettgen was the right man at the right time Saturday, throwing a complete-game two-hitter to lead Jefferson City to a 1-0 victory against the Republic Tigers in a Class 6 quarterfinal game at Vivion Field.
"It doesn't feel real," Roettgen said. "I'm on top of the world."
With the win, the Jays advance to next weekend's Final Four at U.S. Baseball Park in Ozark. Jefferson City (22-13) will take on Fort Zumwalt West (34-4) at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
"Our guys grinded it out today," Lasley said. "Hats off to (Republic), it was a great game."
It was a grind because for much of the contest as Roettgen and Republic senior starting pitcher Jared Hughes put up matching zeroes on the scoreboard as the game was scoreless through the first six innings.
"I love these games because it seems like everybody is into the game, everybody is focused," Roettgen said. "My command is better because I know if I make one mistake, it could be the difference in the game."
Lasley had a feeling Roettgen was going to have a big game Saturday.
"He had a different mentality when he got to the field today," Lasley said. "He competed, he didn't get down, he just kept grinding it out."
But there still was the matter of getting something on the scoreboard in a game where the team that was able to score first was going have a huge advantage.
That turned out to be Jefferson City, the visitors on the scoreboard, in the top of the seventh.
Nick Williams singled and advanced to third an out later on a double by Wyatt Fischer. Jeremy Parks then singled to score Williams to make it 1-0.
But there was still the matter of getting through the bottom of the seventh.
Roettgen knew what he had to do.
"Throw strikes, throw strikes, throw strikes," Roettgen said.
He did and with the third out, was part of a big celebration on the infield.
Roettgen walked just one Tiger batter and finished with 14 strikeouts. He said his curveball was his best pitch Saturday.
"I spotted my fastball and just used those two pitches," he said.
Republic had a chance to score in the bottom of the second when a single and a walk had runners at first and second with two outs. But Roettgen got a strikeout to end the inning.
In the fourth, Kyle Hill of Republic doubled to start the inning for what turned out to be the final hit of the game for the Tigers. But Roettgen got out of it by striking out the next three batters to keep the game scoreless.
"I kept my confidence up," Roettgen said.
Hughes went the distance on the mound for Republic, He allowed five hits and three walks while recording eight strikeouts.
It will be Jefferson City's sixth Final Four trip in program history, the first since winning the Class 5 state title in 2017.
Preparations will begin Monday.
"We're going to get back to practice to be as sharp as we can," Lasley said.
Roettgen thinks next weekend could be special for the Jays.
"I'm confident in my whole team, I think we're ready to go," he said.
Fort Zumwalt West, ranked No. 1 in Class 6 by the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association, advanced Saturday with a 7-6 victory against Francis Howell in its quarterfinal. Friday's other semifinal game, slated for 4 p.m., will pit C.B.C. (23-10) against Liberty (30-9).
The third-place game is scheduled for 4 p.m. next Saturday, with the title game to follow at 6:30 p.m.