Perhaps it was all of the energy that was exhausted in a furious seventh inning comeback.
Or perhaps it could have been all of the pitchers that were used.
But perhaps ultimately, in a game that had many twists and turns, somebody just had to dig deep and make a game-winning play.
In his first varsity hit, Keaton Suellentrop drove in the winning runs as Olathe South defeated Derby 8-5 in 11 innings Thursday night in the Class 6A baseball quarterfinals at Hoglund Park. All three Wichita-area schools lost on Thursday.
The Falcons play Lawrence-Free State in Friday’s semifinals.
“You just knew the game was going to turn on something,” Derby coach Todd Olmstead said. “The kid came up with a base hit … a kid I didn’t expect to put the ball in play and he did.”
In the first at-bat in the bottom of the first, Olathe South starting pitcher and Arkansas signee Isaiah Campbell was hit on his throwing elbow by an Curtis Whitten comebacker.
He was forced out of the game.
“He had a deep bruise,” Olathe South coach Josh Perkins said. “He’s hoping to play tomorrow.”
Derby seemed left for dead as it headed into the bottom of the seventh inning trailing 5-3. The Panthers hadn’t mustered much offense, so it seemed unlikely they could string together baserunners when they needed it most.
Tanner Olmstead walked and moved to third on wild pitches, and Caleb Gash walked and was sacrificed to second.
Nathaniel Crossman plated the first run on a sacrfice fly to left.
With two outs, Garrett Xanders hit an infield single that moved Gash to third. Justin Ash followed with a base hit to left to tie the game.
“We have been able to do that all year — put hits together,” Ash said. “Two-out hits is something we have been good at all season.”
Derby might look back and wonder if it shouldn’t have won in the seventh.
With two outs in the fifth, Olathe South’s Stephen Mitchell Miller hit a pop up to shallow right field.
Second basemen Aaron Starnes raced back and was in position to make the catch, but he dropped it and two Falcons crossed the plate.
“We make that play right there, we win,” Olmstead said. “But that happened six innings before the game was over, so we had chances.”
The Panthers never managed any threat in extra innings, going 12 up and 12 down.
“If there is one thing we do, we compete,” Perkins said. “And we did that tonight.”
Being patient didn’t work. Neither did being aggressive early.
“There is a reason Gomer is going to Evansville,” Northwest coach Chris Lambert said. “He was constantly around 89-91 and hit his spots.
“When you face a guy like that, you got to get on it early.”
The Grizzlies managed just two hits off Gomer. They struck out 10 times.
“We were trying to sit on his fastball,” senior Wil Clark said. “We didn’t do a good enough job piecing anything together.”
Northwest starter Kyle Wegleitner threw 62 pitches in three innings, allowing two runs on four hits.
“We knew coming up here, pitching and defense are key,” Lambert said. “And we lacked in both early on.”
Jordan Dingman relieved Wegleitner and gave up two hits in the fourth inning, allowing just one hit.
Not Thursday afternoon against Lawrence Free State.
The Colts managed only two hits and just one other baserunner.
“Hitting is so contagious,” Campus coach Bryan Clasen said. “Lawrence Free State’s pitcher was really good and he filled up the strikezone and we couldn’t get the offense going.”
Free State’s starting pitcher Hunter Gudde wasn’t overpowering, but he mixed in plenty of offspeed pitches, which really put Campus on its heels.
“We weren’t finding it today … couldn’t get the bats going,” senior pitcher Neil Lemmons said. “it happens to the best of us.”
The Firebirds scored three times in the fifth on four hits and a wild pitch.
“The fifth inning kind of got away from us,” Clasen said. “We had some miscues here and there and we couldn’t get anything going.”
Free State 4, Campus 0
|Campus||000||000||0||—||0 2 1|
|Free State||001||030||x||—||4 7 0|
SM Northwest 7, W. Northwest 0
|SM Northwest||101||020||3||—||7 12 0|
|W. Northwest||000||000||0||—||0 2 3|
Olathe South 8, Derby 5
|Olathe South||002||030||000||03||—||8 13 1|
|Derby||001||020||200||00||—||5 10 1|