On the final two days of the high school baseball regular season, the Rockwood Summit High School Falcons lost a pair of home games to Webster Groves and Ft. Zumwalt West.
For whatever reason, those games didn't really register as important on anybody's radar at the time. Maybe because nobody really thought Summit was supposed to win those games against the eventual Suburban South and GAC South champions anyway.
But since those May 8 and 9 defeats, Summit has steamrolled every opponent it's faced in the state playoffs, including the top-ranked team in the area Vianney, in the Class 4 District 3 championship game on May 15.
Now everyone in Fenton and beyond is taking notice, as the Falcons have won five playoff games in a row, including the district and sectional championships, and are now headed to the State Baseball Championships in Springfield this weekend.
"It's really exciting baseball right now," Summit head baseball coach Ken Droege said. "We're executing in all phases right now. We're pitching well. Our defense has been excellent. We're hot right now, and it's just fun to still be playing baseball this time of the year."
And as unlikely as it seemed at the end of the regular season, if Summit is able to win just two more games, then sometime late Saturday night, the Falcons will be arriving back home in Fenton with the first state baseball title in school history.
"It would be unbelievable to win it," Droege said. "Words couldn't describe it. It would just be unbelievable.
"It's been a special ride. It's beyond what our kids can even imagine right now. It's beyond themselves at this point. It's in their families, it's in our school, and more importantly, it's throughout our whole community. It's a very special ride."
Summit's ride through championship weekend will begin though, with a huge test in the state semifinals, where the Falcons will matchup against the No. 1-ranked team in the state, Liberty (MO), in a game that will be played at historic Meador Park, Friday at 4 p.m.
The winner of that contest will then play in the Class 4 state championship game, Saturday at Meador Park, at 4 p.m., while the losing team would play in the state championship third-place game, Saturday night at 7 p.m.
And of the four teams to advance to the semifinals this season, Liberty, which boasts a 27-3 record this year, is the only club that expected to be playing for the state championship this year.
The Blue Jays are a stacked club, with three players that might be among those chosen in next week's Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, and are currently ranked the 22nd best team in the country in the ESPN Powerade Fab 50 national baseball poll, which was released Wednesday.
But don't count Summit as one of the teams afraid to play Liberty, or anybody else this weekend.
"We look forward to that opportunity," Droege said. "They're good, and from what we know about them, they're as good as it gets. That's the special thing about the way Missouri sets up its playoff system. You've just got to be that one team that one day. And anybody can beat anybody on one particular day."
And with wins over powerhouses like area No. 1 Vianney and No. 3 Parkway South just in the last two weeks, Summit has proven that on any given day, and possibly every given day, the Falcons can beat anybody.
INSIDE LOOK AT THE FOUR BASEBALL SEMI-FINALISTS
Coach: Ken Droege
How they got here: Won Class 4 District 3, then defeated Parkway South 7-3 in sectionals and Cape Girardeau Central 13-2 in quarterfinals.
Top hitters: Matt Kaysinger (.422 ba, 1 HR, 12 RBIs); Nick Bamvakais (.419 ba, 1 HR, 14 RBIs); Eric Beisel (.309 ba, 4 HR, 19 RBIs).
Top pitchers: Rudy May (6-2, 0.65 ERA, 40 Ks in 43.1 IP); Joey Schenck (5-2, 3.19 ERA, 2 SVs, 63 Ks in 57.0 IP); Brian Quasebarth (5-5, 3.63 ERA, 55 Ks in 54.0 IP).
Semifinal matchup: will play Liberty (MO) in semifinal #1 at Meador Park in Springfield, MO, at 4 p.m. Friday, June 1.
Coach: Kirk Bragg
How they got here: Won Class 4 District 16, then defeated Winnetonka 6-0 in sectionals and Rockhurst 4-2 in quarterfinals.
Rankings: #1 in Missouri, #22 in ESPN Powerade Fab 50 national baseball poll.
Top hitters: CF Lucas Norton, Sr; LF Wes Jones, Sr.;
Top pitchers: RHP Rob Henrichs, Sr; RHP Spencer Schwandt, Sr.
Semifinal matchup: will play Rockwood Summit in semifinal #1 at Meador Park in Springfield, MO, Friday, June 1, at 4 p.m.
Parkway North Vikings
Coach: Fred Friedman
How they got here: Won Class 4 District 7, then defeated Ft. Zumwalt South 11-1 in sectionals and SLUH 6-1 in quarterfinals.
Top hitters: CF Michael Bozarth, Sr. (.515 batting average, 26 RBIs, 23 SBs); DH Justin Campbell, Jr. (.352 ba, 2 HRs, 39 RBIs); C Garrett Taylor, Soph. (.352 ba, 22 RBIs);
Top pitchers: RHP Joey Hope, Soph. (6-1, 3.77 ERA); LHP Joey Reeves, Frosh. (3-0, 1.43 ERA); Connor Ladig (6-1, 2.72 ERA).
Semifinal matchup: will play Willard (MO) in semifinal #2 at Meador Park in Springfield, MO, Friday, June 1, at 7 p.m.
Coach: Scott McGee
How they got here: Won Class 4 District 12, then defeated Nixa 5-2 in sectionals and Helias Catholic 6-5 in 8 innings in quarterfinals.
Top hitters: IF Kolton Anderson, Sr.; IF Trevor Bowling, Jr.; C Tyler Hampton, Sr; 1B/OF Ryan Stewart, Sr.
Top pitchers: LHP Austin Reaves, Jr. (4-0) ; RHP Anthony Caenepeel (8-3, 1.75 ERA, 74 Ks in 62.0 IP).
Semifinal matchup: will play Parkway North in semifinal #2 at Meador Park in Springfield, MO, at 7 p.m. Friday, June 1.
FINAL FOUR SCHEDULE
Semifinal #1 -- Friday, June 1, Rockwood Summit vs. Liberty 4 pm
Semifinal #2 -- Friday, June 1, Parkway North vs. Willard 7 pm
Championship Game -- Saturday, June 2 -- Meador Park 4 pm
3rd-Place Game -- Saturday, June 2 -- Meador Park 7 pm