Parkway South Fights Off Lafayette Challenge, Clinches District Baseball Championship
Patriots erase memories of nightmare loss in last year’s semifinals to claim their second district title in the last three years.
For an entire year, Parkway South baseball team players had to sit around and think about what could’ve been last year, when despite being one of the top-ranked teams in the area, they were bounced from the district playoffs early in an upset loss to rival Eureka.
Through all those workouts, practices, and weight-training sessions, the Patriots concentrated on one collective goal—getting back to the district championship game, and this time winning it.
And that year-long dream finally became a reality for Parkway South High on Tuesday, as the Patriots outhit, outpitched, and thoroughly outplayed pesky league rival Lafayette High, for an 8-4 victory, that gave South its second district title in the last three years.
"We’re a tough team to beat,” South senior third baseman Michael Patterson, who led the Patriot offense with a game-high three RBIs. “We don’t have any shutdown pitchers. We just have guys that pitch to contact, and get the job done, and get ahead in counts. When we do that, our defense makes plays and we execute.”
And it was that consistent execution that led South to its most satisfying win of the season, and Patterson encapsulated the game's character.
He had just one hit in the game, but he still managed to drive in a run every time he came to bat on Tuesday.
Patterson dropped down a perfect squeeze bunt to get the Patriots on the board in the second inning.
Then in the fourth, he delivered a smash groundball with runners on the corners, that produced another run, and gave South a 2-0 lead.
Teammate Anthony Duke broke the game open with a two-run triple later in that frame, and it seemed like South might exorcise last year’s demons by blowing out Lafayette.
But the Lancers showed what kind of resilient club they could be, by rallying for three runs in the top of the fifth, that suddenly turned the 2012 MSHSAA Class 4 District 4 championship into a nail-biter again.
"If it’s not the toughest (district), it’s one of the two toughest,” Parkway South coach Adam Stahl said. “It’s got to be. Year in and year out, it’s the same district. You’re talking about the finest players in the state of Missouri in one centrally located place. You never get a break.”
There certainly are no breaks in District 4, but Patterson did give South some breathing room, with his RBI basehit in the bottom of the fifth.
That made the score 6-3, which softened the blow a bit, when Lafayette’s Blake Hoover launched a long home run to lead off the sixth, that made the score 6-4 South.
It was Hoover’s fourth homer of the year, but it was also the last baserunner Lafayette would have this season, as South’s Tyler Omlid retired the final six Lancer hitters in order to close out the game.
Omlid also extended South’s edge to 8-4 in the bottom of the sixth, when he knocked in two runs with a groundball out that Lafayette couldn’t successfully turn into a double play.
The save was Omlid’s fourth this season, and came in back of starter Ty Stahl, who got the win, after pitching four-plus innings, and allowed the usually hot-hitting Lancers just three runs and five hits.
Parkway South (23-7) will now advance to the MSHSAA Class 4 sectionals, which will be played May 22 at a location to be determined, against the Rockwood Summit, which upset No. 2-ranked Vianney in the Class 3 district championship on Tuesday night as well.
Score by Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 - R H E
Lafayette 0 0 0 0 3 1 0 - 4 7 1
Parkway South 0 1 0 4 1 2 x - 8 7 1