It wasn’t one of those feel-good meetings to kick off a season. Not by a long shot.
When the Rose Hill seniors gathered their teammates together some three months ago, they had a clear message.
“We told them we knew we had the talent, so let’s not screw around and not make the most of it,” Harrison Haydock said. “We could see there were a lot of younger guys who could play and that they were going to help us win games, so we didn’t want to waste the opportunity we had in front of us.”
The Rockets completed a bounce-back season on Friday with a 5-3 win over Fort Scott in the Class 4A-Division I third-place game, just one year after going 5-14 and one game after losing to DeSoto 9-0 in the semifinals.
“We had a little meeting with them after the loss, to kind of put things in perspective,” Rose Hill coach Scott Carr said. “You have that disappointment and things start to get to you a little quicker, you’re a little frustrated, but you pick your head back up and get out there.”
Rose Hill won with a mix of old and young against Fort Scott, getting two RBIs each from Haydock and freshman right fielder Cayden Gregory, who made his first start in the Rockets’ quarterfinal win over Andale-Garden Plain on Thursday.
“We came out with a lot of energy, like we typically do,” Gregory said. “We were just glad to be in a position where we all got another game to play together.”
Fort Scott rallied to tied the score at 3-3 in the fifth inning before the Rockets responded with a run in the sixth inning off Gregory’s RBI single that scored fellow freshman Nathaniel Scantlin for a 4-3 lead.
Rose Hill (17-8) added another run in the seventh when freshman pitcher Griffin McBride scored on an throwing error by Fort Scott.
“I’m sad it has to end because we had so much fun on and off the field,” Haydock said. “There were so many things we did together away from the game that were a blast, we had a real bond we formed.”
McBride picked up the win and was one one of seven freshmen or sophomores in Rose Hill’s starting lineup Friday.
“We’ve had times where we’ll be good for three years, then down for a couple of years,” said Carr, who has been Rose Hill’s coach since 1998. “One thing we’d like to do, which DeSoto and Topeka Hayden seem to do, is to not rebuild but to reload. That starts with our youth programs playing at a higher level, which is what a lot of these kids have been a part of.”
De Soto defeated Paola 10-5 in the championship game for the first baseball title in school history.
Rose Hill 5, Fort Scott 3
|Rose Hill||010||201||1||—||5 8 1|
|Fort Scott||000||210||0||—||3 4 2|
W—McBride. L—Reehl. S—Grant.
DeSoto 9, Rose Hill 0
|Rose Hll||000||000||0||—||0 3 2|
|DeSoto||232||110||0||—||9 10 2|