Rockets run past Comets in postseason opener

Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont senior Caleb Noble (24) runs into third base in front of Cardinal senior Chance Randolph (29) during prep baseball action earlier this season.

EDDYVILLE – Devin Jager had an idea during the fourth inning of Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont's Class 2A district semifinal contest with Cardinal.

"The pitcher wasn't paying attention to me," the Rocket senior stated. "I thought we could run a triple steal.

"And we did."

In fact, the Rockets pulled off two separate double steals during a decisive fourth inning of the 2A, District 12 semifinal contest at Ron Welsch Field. After Jager scored on the first triple steal, Reilly Flaig drew a walk to reload the bases, setting up EBF's second straight double steal bringing in a second run without a hit during a five-run rally that helped clinch an 8-1 win for the Rockets, avenging last year's 6-3 district championship loss to the Comets on EBF's home diamond.

"It was Devin's idea to run triple steal," noted EBF skipper Tom Hallgren.

Zach Leonard, Ethan Davis and Jager all singled during the fourth inning. The Comets aided the EBF cause as the pitching staff issued three walks, two with the bases loaded.

Cardinal (13-10) rolled into the district semifinal having erased a four-run deficit the previous night, earning a season-extending 6-4 win at Pekin in the first round of district tournament play. EBF (26-6) scored single runs in each of the first three innings, building a 3-1 lead over the Comets.

The Rockets opened the scoring in the bottom of the first. With two outs, Jared McCrea walked, Caleb Noble was hit by a pitch and Flaig singled to drive in the game's first run.

McCrea picked up the win on the mound, working 6 1/3 innings before handing the ball off to Thane Alexander for the final two outs. The final eight Comet hitters of the season went down on strikes as the Rockets pitching staff dominated the final five innings of the game.

Davis and Jager each notched two hits for EBF with Jager hitting a single and a double. The Rockets host South Central Conference rival Davis County on Saturday night for the district championship having won two of three meetings this season with the Mustangs, including a doubleheader sweep at Eddyville on July 1 that helped EBF eventually earn a share of a second straight SCC title.

The Rockets outscored Davis County by a combined score of 16-1 two weeks earlier in the SCC doubleheader between the teams. The Mustangs won 2-1 at the West Complex in Bloomfield over EBF back on June 11, winning on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh that allowed Dawson Townsend to score from third base.

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