SPRINGFIELD, MO. -- Of all the possible scenarios anyone could've possibly imagined for Friday's MSHSAA Class 4 semifinal matchup between unheralded Summit High and No. 1-ranked Liberty (MO), most high school baseball experts would've considered the Falcons winning in a blowout over the Blue Jays the least likely choice.
But if you ask the Summit players and coaches, they'd tell you they've felt like the least likely choice all season.
So really, it's little wonder that the Falcons flat walloped the top-ranked team in the state on Friday, 10-3, ending Liberty's season at 27-4, and have now advanced themselves to the Class 4 state championship game, which will be played on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Meador Park.
Seniors Clayton Evans and Brian Quasebarth were the stars of the day for Summit, which was 14-11 heading into district play three weeks ago, but has now won six straight to move to 20-11.
Evans did the work at the plate, with four hits, a run batted in, and two runs scored to lead the offense, while Quasebarth pitched four strong innings (before leaving the game in the fifth), to get the win on the mound.
Summit also got huge help from junior Eric Beisel, who reached base all four times he came to the plate and scored two runs, as well as stellar relief pitching from senior Joey Schenk, who went two innings, and junior Rudy May, who closed out the seventh inninng to preserve the win.
Liberty standout starter Spencer Schwandt, whose headed to Washburn University in Topeka, KS, to pitch next fall, barely survived three innings against the Falcons, who cracked him for five hits and three runs in the second and third innings, then chased him for good with a five-run rally in the fourth.
Beisel and fellow junior Nick Bamvakais got the first rally started with a pair of singles to leadoff the second.
Senior Jacob Manier reached on a misplayed bunt to load the bases with nobody out. Sophomore Ryan Fritz then hit into a double play, but Beisel was still able to scoot home with the first run of the day, and Summit was on its way.
In third inning, Evans and fellow senior Kyle Younger led off with hits, and both eventually scored on RBIs by Matt Kaysinger and Bamvakais.
But the big rally came in the fourth, when Summit pieced together three hits, three walks, and a Liberty error into five runs that broke the game wide open.
The Blue Jays did mount a small rally in the fifth, with three runs that chased Quasebarth from the game.
But Schenk was able to close the door in that inning, and May closed the door for good in the seventh.
Summit will now await the winner of Friday's other semifinal game between local league rival Parkway North and Willard (MO) to find out who they'll play in Saturday's championship game.
At presstime, that game had just begun with no score in the second inning.
Fans can tune in to Patch.com later this evening, to find out who Summit's opponent will be in Saturday's championship game.
We will also have full coverage on Saturday evening of the biggest game in Summit baseball history, as the Falcons play in their first state baseball championship game ever.