FARMINGTON — The North County baseball team made two clutch rallies with its season hanging in the balance Tuesday night, and stunned Jackson 5-4 in nine innings to reach the Class 4, District 1 championship game.
The Raiders trailed 3-1 after wasting a lead-off triple from senior Cody Huff in the sixth, but consecutive lead-off hits by Matt Robinson and Jordan Thompson sparked an imperative comeback against reliever Bobby Clark.
Starting pitcher Derek Gibson watched both senior teammates touch home plate without swinging the bat, as Clark uncorked two wild pitches before a passed ball suddenly tied the game.
Jackson regained the lead in the top of the ninth when catcher Tyler Qualls slammed a 3-0 pitch from Derek Emily over the right-field fence with two outs, but the drama would only continue to escalate.
Thompson, who went 3-for-4 with two runs score while making several excellent plays at shortstop, stole second base after drawing a lead-off walk against Caleb Hosey.
Gibson followed with a sharp single to right putting runners at the corners for Jake Cavins, whose suicide-squeeze bunt under heavy pressure seemingly baffled the Jackson defense.
Cavins not only reached first base with a single as Thompson scored, but Gibson raced all the way to third when the Indians failed to cover. The Raiders prevailed when Hosey juggled a tapper back toward the mound.
Huff and Robinson produced two hits each, and reliever Derek Emily pitched four innings with three strikeouts for win. North County (16-4) will meet De Soto for the title on Thursday at Wilson-Rozier Park.
Clark gave Jackson (12-14) the lead with a two-run single in the fourth and finished 2-for-3 overall, while center Michael Mouser netted two more singles. Travis Hurst yielded one run over 5 2/3 innings and settled for a no-decision.
Thompson singled home Robinson in the third as the Raiders grabbed a 1-0 lead.
Potosi 5, Ste. Genevieve 4
POTOSI — Junior shortstop Tanner Glore was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, and Potosi avoided a semifinal upset on Tuesday by edging Ste. Genevieve 5-4 in the Class 3, District 2 Tournament.
Glore also collected a RBI triple and Brad Wright singled home another run for the top-seeded Trojans, who had trailed throughout much of the action before tallying the tying run in the fifth.
Sophomore Devin Hampton allowed one batter to reach by error over 2 2/3 innings, and struck out three batters in relief for the win after starter Chad Smith issued seven walks.
Outfielder Dylan Eye paced the Trojans with two hits, while Andy Reed, Hampton and Smith also chipped in singles. Potosi (15-6) will face Herculaneum in the finals at 3 p.m. on Thursday.
Ste. Genevieve (9-16) advanced to the semifinal round on Monday by defeating St. Pius 4-3, as freshman Logan Giesler singled home two runs in the seventh, but would fall this time in walk-off fashion.
Valle 10, Brentwood 0
ST. LOUIS — Junior Michael Greminger carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning on Tuesday, and the Valle baseball team coasted into the Class 1, District 3 finals with a 10-0 shutout over host Brentwood.
Aaron Basler and Jason Blum each finished 2-for-3 with a double, and Cole Bieser scored three runs for the top-seeded Warriors (21-5), who will meet Crystal City today at 4:30 p.m. for the championship.
Nolan Carrow ripped a RBI double and Luke Uding contributed a sacrifice fly during a five-run fourth inning, and Valle built a 7-0 cushion on back-to-back doubles from Basler and Blum.
Another RBI double from Bieser and two Brentwood errors during the fifth helped the Warriors invoke the 10-run rule. Zach Weiler also singled for Valle.
Greminger compiled six strikeouts and allowed one walk while facing two batters over the minimum. Richard Lowe broke up the potential no-hitter with a single for the Eagles (12-7).
Herculaneum 7, Central 3
POTOSI — Central managed one hit through six innings against pitcher Andy Giorgi on Thursday, and saw a late comeback fall short in a season-ending 7-3 loss to Herculaneum at the Class 3, District 2 semifinals.
Kyle Siebert had a triple and an unusual two-run double that dropped between two Central infielders. Tyler Rulo, Zac Taylor and Giorgi also had two hits apiece for Herculaneum, which scored four runs in the third inning.
Giorgi recorded six strikeouts and allowed three runs in the win, as the Blackcats (12-10) advanced to meet Potosi for the championship. Giorgi retired 17 of 18 batters after Daniel Holloway tripled to begin the first inning.
Central (10-14) surged back in the seventh on a two-run double from catcher Luke Baker after Dale Mosier, C.J. Bland and Garrett Manion stroked three straight singles.
But Sam Edwards nailed down the save with a game-ending strikeout, leaving two Rebels in scoring position.