SW upsets Purdy in baseball semifinal

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Rock and fire Democrat Photo/Jared Lankford Southwest pitching ace Tyler Ferguson throws a pitch against Diamond during Saturday's Class 2, District 12 opening round game.

The Southwest Trojans, the fifth seed in the Class 2, District 12 baseball tournament at Ash Grove, shocked fourth-seeded Diamond on Saturday, 5-4, and then electrocuted Purdy on Monday, 3-1, to advance to Tuesday's tournament final.

The Purdy Eagles entered the tourney with a 19-4 record and were rewarded with the top seed. Pierce City received the second seed, followed by Miller and Diamond.

In Saturday's slate of opening-round games, Purdy beat College Heights, 5-1; Southwest upset Diamond, 5-4; Pierce City held off Sarcoxie, 4-3; and Miller eliminated Ash Grove, 6-4.

"We knew if we played a clean game, we had a good shot at winning," said Southwest coach Kenny Ferguson. "Both teams pitched and played well, and I really liked our focus and intensity the whole game."

No one was more intense than Jake Shrum, Southwest's senior hurler. Shrum threw a complete game gem, limiting Purdy to just one run on one hit, two walks and an error, while striking out five Eagles.

But the most valuable player of the game was Ty Hackett, Southwest's center fielder. Hackett's RBI single in the top of the second inning scored Shrum and gave the Trojans a 1-0 lead.

Purdy tied the game in the bottom of the same inning when Cameron Terry tripled and scored on an RBI sacrifice fly from Devon Bennett.

The score remained tied into the bottom of the fourth inning. Cody Hall was awarded first base after being hit by a pitch, and then Bennett smoked a long drive into deep left center. But instead of becoming an RBI, Bennett's smash died in cowhide as Hackett's sprint and catch completed a stellar defensive play.

In the top of the sixth inning, the Trojans finally rallied against Purdy's starting pitcher, Reese Stevenson. Shrum led off the inning with a single through the box, and Skylar Knoll found the same seam with a one-out single. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch to present Hackett with a two-out, RBI opportunity.

Hackett ripped a 3-1 fastball into left field to score both Shrum and Knoll and give Southwest a 3-1 lead.

Shrum then retired the Eagles on eight pitches in the bottom of the sixth inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Purdy's Keevin Walker drew a two-out walk from Shrum, and the tying run came to the plate. But Shrum struck out Drew Williams on four pitches to secure the upset for the Trojans.

Southwest improved to 14-7 on the season, and advanced into Tuesday's championship game against Pierce City, a 5-4 winner over Miller.

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