JOPLIN, Mo. – Caleb Feuerstake enhanced an early Mineral Area lead with one powerful swing, and David Webb protected it with another clutch relief appearance.
The Cardinals halted the 29-game win streak of top seed Jefferson after dropping eight previous head-to-head meetings in a row, and advanced 7-4 in the Region 16 tournament on Thursday night.
Blakeney Kearbey threw six quality innings to win his fifth consecutive start, and fourth-seeded Mineral Area (32-15) stayed in the winner’s bracket to meet State Fair on Friday.
Three defensive errors each proved costly for Jefferson (41-15), which trailed 5-0 after the Cardinals produced four runs in the fourth inning off starter Riley Boyd.
Tommy Van de Sanden walked and Jared Jones singled ahead of a throwing miscue at first base that made it 2-0 with one out.
Feuerstake followed with a long three-run home run to right field – his 11th of the season – and was 2-for-4 with three runs scored.
Kearbey (7-3) was hindered by seven walks, but delivered eight big strikeouts while allowing only three hits. Jarrett Newell connected for a two-run double against him in the bottom of the fourth.
A one-out double from Brad Willis was squandered when Kearbey closed the sixth with back-to-back strikeouts, but the Vikings threatened again in the seventh.
Matt Turino brought Jefferson to within 5-3 with an RBI double, prompting a change on the mound. Webb kept the margin right there by fanning the next three batters.
Devyn Terbrak calmed the Mineral Area lineup through five innings of relief, striking out five, but was tagged for two unearned runs when Feuerstake and Liam Hicks scored on errors in the ninth.
Webb surrendered a two-out RBI single to Nick Hagedorn, but overpowered Dalton Doyle for his sixth and final strikeout to secure his sixth save.
Left fielder Riley Perks drifted to the fence to catch one fly ball in the bottom of the ninth, then raced forward for a running grab and the second out.
Dillon Thomas notched and double and single, and Van de Sanden reached base four times with a stolen base to support the victory.
Mineral Area moved ahead 1-0 when Feuerstake walked and scored on a wild pitch and ball four that put Jake Pryor aboard in the third inning.