It was just simply to big of a hill to overtake for the Eureka baseball team.
Eureka spotted Kansas City power, Staley seven runs in the first inning and despite rallying back, fell to the Falcons 7-5 in a Class 5 semifinal Friday at T. R. Hughes Ballpark.
Staley (27-4) will face the CBC for the Class 5 championship Saturday at 1 p.m.
Eureka starter Bo Highfill, normally sharp on the mound, struggled with his location and the Staley hitters cashed in during ther first inning as the Falcons sent 11 hitters to the plate, slapping out seven hits and scoring all of their runs.
“The first inning, I haven’t seen anything like that all year,” Eureka coach Jim Daffron said. “Every ball they hit, it found a hole.
Staley left fielder Conrad McMahon stared the game off with a single, scored and rounded out the inning a two-run double to give the Falcons a 7-0 lead.
“I lef t a couple of ball up and they hit a couple of balls hard and I was having a little trouble with location,” Highfill said. It kind of stuck give up those runs early.”
Eureka (24-5) was definitely down big but not nearly close to be out of it.
A three-run second inning gave the Wildcats some momentum as Zach Wood, Austin DesRosch, and Cole Stamper knocked in runs for Eureka.
“I thought the way we were playing, we were going to get it back, ” Highfill said,
Blake Clynes and Zach Seiler provided RBI-hits in the third inning to pull Eureka within 7-5.
“I thought, for sure, we were going to do it after those two big innings,” Daffron said. “We just couldn’t quite get the big hit late. My hat goes off to them. They brought it from the get-go.”
Eureka had a chance to get closer in the fifth when Andrew Colin ripped a shot to deep-center field that looked to be at least a two base hit. But Staley center fielder Jackson Duffy leaped and brought ball back into the field of play with an amazing catch.
From there Staley cruised and is now one game away from the school’s first state championship.
Brody Meloy picked up the win with 4 1/3 inning of relief. Hunter Swift was credited with the save for Staley.
Highfill allowed seven runs on 13 hits, five strikeouts and two walks and while it was it a disappointing start to the state tournament for him, he was not about let the setback sour the experience for him or his teammates.
“It’s gonna be tough, it stinks losing but its always good to end the season on a winning note so we want to play hard for this last game and try to end season on a winning note.”