Relief pitcher Rolando Segovia needed one out to finish Derby’s win against Heights in the Class 6A baseball quarterfinals. But facing the top of Heights’ lineup made the feat a little harder.
“He’s a senior, I was going to let him win it or lose it, it was his time,” Derby coach Todd Olmstead said.
Although it took 15 pitches, Segovia closed out a 6-5 win.
Segovia was up 0-2 in the count against leadoff hitter Jordan Plank, then he threw four straight balls to load the bases with two outs. Curtis Whitten watched two balls and two strikes before fouling off the next three pitches.
“I was already shook up nervous, and then I got bases loaded when I walked (Plank),” Segovia said. “(Whitten) was the only guy I was worried about in the lineup, and I had to face him, so I was scared.”
Segovia threw a curveball for strike three, the final out in Derby’s first state quarterfinal win since 2001.
“I had to talk to myself and tell myself to calm down, and just throw, don’t try to overpower it, because I’m sure they can hit it,” Segovia said. “But then he couldn’t hit it. I don’t know if he couldn’t see the curveball, or didn’t think it was a strike.”
Derby (10-11) took an early 4-1 lead, and Heights (19-4) cut the deficit to 4-2 in the sixth.
“A lot of our games we won this year we came back, we didn’t always have the lead,” Heights coach Jeff Topping said. “So I was just telling them to believe, just try to hit the ball hard, get in a hitter’s count, get on base, and when we got on base it put pressure on them.”
Derby got the first batter out in the seventh, but Derby starter Garrett Rankin walked the next three batters. Whitten was hit by a pitch from relief pitcher Derek Newcome to score a run, then Grant Watkins hit a sacrifice fly to score the tying run.
Derby’s Aaron Cheatham singled to center field to start the eighth inning, then Rankin doubled down the third-base line. Cheatham scored on a wild pitch and Rankin scored on a sacrifice fly.
“The whole time I knew we were going to win. I knew it was going to be close, and that we’d have to keep fighting, but I knew,” Rankin said. “It’s fun, we’re all having fun with it, and it’s baseball, you have to have fun.”
Blue Valley 12, Northwest 8 — Northwest led most of the game, leading 8-4 by the seventh inning. With ace Mitchell McIntyre on the mound, the team was confident of advancing.
“I think everybody who’s watched Mitchell pitch this season knows that when we’re up four runs that the game is usually over,” Northwest coach Chris Lambert said. “Tonight it didn’t work out that way.”
Blue Valley scored four runs off McIntyre to tie the game on four hits and one walk before Josh Jones relieved him with two outs. Blue Valley scored four more times off two relievers.
“We can hit, but (McIntyre’s) a great pitcher and he held us down for six,” Blue Valley coach Tony Scardino said. “In that seventh we just kept battling, and got some positive counts, and hit the ball hard like we hadn’t all day. Things just kind of worked out for us.”
Derby 6, Heights 5
|Derby||013||000||02||—||6 7 1|
|Heights||100||001||21||—||5 5 2|
W — Newcome. L — Plank. S — Segovia.
Blue Valley 12, Northwest 8
|Blue Valley||011||002||8||—||12 12 4|
|Northwest||150||002||0||—||8 8 4|
W — LaMunyon. L — McIntyre..