After putting up a crooked number in the first inning, all Maize South had to do was match Hays’ output the rest of the way.
That’s exactly what the Mavericks did, providing an answer each time the Indians attempted a late-inning comeback to seal a 7-2 victory in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A-I baseball tournament Thursday at Dean Evans Stadium.
After plating three runs in its first at-bats, top-seeded Maize South (18-5) added one more in the fourth as starter Chase Hampton cruised through the first four frames. The senior ran into a bit of trouble in the fifth, as the third of three singles got Hays (10-13) a run, but the Indians left the bases loaded to limit the damage.
Mavericks catcher Jordan Maxson took just two pitches in the bottom of the inning to change all that, launching a ball through a stiff wind and over the wall in left to make it 5-1.
“We’ve kind of been able to do that the last few games,” Maize South coach Chad Christensen said. “If a team puts a run up on us, we’re able to put some back up on them to keep the lead or extend the lead. It worked out again for us today.”
Maize South did the same one inning later, jumping on a Hays reliever for two runs. The Mavericks benefited from three walks and an RBI double to the wall from Jack Wagner.
In all, Maize South cracked 10 hits and drew six walks to reach the semis for the first time since finishing fourth in 5A in 2015. The Mavericks face Independence, a 5-3 winner over Topeka Hayden, in an 11 a.m. semifinal Friday.
Senior Nolan Riley got the call for Augusta (18-5), and did exactly what his team needed on the first day of the state tournament, going the distance and giving up three hits and an earned run.
While Riley was dealing, counterpart Dante Nelson of Basehor-Linwood (10-12) was, too. Nelson settled in to allow his team to tie it up in the fifth, but Augusta started clicking in the sixth, plating five runs.
“Their pitcher was doing what he needed to do,” Riley said of Nelson. “He worked in and out and kept us off-balance. We just had to battle until we finally got our opportunity in the sixth.”
Augusta, making its second semifinal appearance in three seasons, will face the winner of Ottawa and Bishop Miege at 1:15 p.m. Friday.
|Hays||000||011||0||—||2 6 1|
|M. South||301||012||x||—||7 10 0|
W: Hampton. L: Riggs. HR: Maize South, Maxson.
|B-Linwood||000||010||1||—||2 3 4|
|Augusta||010||005||x||—||6 5 1|
W: Riley. L: Nelson.