Kelly upsets defending state champs

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Scott City pitcher Shae Simmons tags out Kelly's Ethan Lee during their Class 2 District 3 semifinal in Charleston. (DAVID JENKINS ~ Sikeston Standard-Democrat)

The Hawks ended Scott City's season with an 8-5 district win.

CHARLESTON -- Kelly's Josh DeBrock stepped to the plate with his team one out away from elimination against one of the hardest throwing hurlers in Southeast Missouri.

DeBrock looked out at Scott City's Shae Simmons, who was the winning pitcher in last year's Class 2 championship game.

With the bases loaded, two outs and his team trailing by one run, DeBrock had a chance to be the hero or record the final out of his team's 2009 season.

"I'm not going to lie, I was pretty scared," DeBrock said. "But I went up there thinking that our team played tough and we couldn't just give up now, and I figured Ryan [Essner] threw a heck of a game so I was going to try to come through for us. I guess I did."

Scott City catcher Jaris Hye attempts to tag Kelly's Ryan Essner as the ball gets away during Tuesday's Class 2 District 3 semifinal in Charleston. (DAVID JENKINS ~ Sikeston Standard-Democrat)

DeBrock was expecting a fastball from Simmons.

He got a fastball.

The senior smashed a single into right field that scored the tying run. When the throw into the infield was dropped by the cutoff man, another run scored and Kelly took its first lead of the contest.

DeBrock's hit was the highlight of a five-run rally in the top of the seventh for the Hawks, who overcame a two-run deficit entering the top half of the frame. Essner then pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh as No. 6 Kelly upset the defending Class 2 state champion Rams 8-5 at Charleston High School.

Kelly advanced to today's Class 2 District 3 title game against No. 1 Saxony Lutheran at 5 p.m.

"He's also known as big-hit Josh," Kelly coach Nate Wills said about DeBrock. "He's big-hit Josh this week. If we had a district tournament MVP, it would be him because he came up yesterday and had a clutch two-out hit and he came out today and had a two-out hit.

"I had to get on him a little bit at the beginning of the game about some hustle. He got mad at me and then him and I -- it was just like no problems. I knew what he thought. He knew what I thought. He's going to go up there and battle."

Scott City (12-10) entered the seventh leading 5-3. But three Scott City errors along with four Kelly hits turned around the game. The first batter of the inning reached on a pop up that was dropped. After Simmons struck out the second batter, he surrendered a single and a walk to load the bases. A little infield dribbler scored a run to cut Kelly's deficit to 5-4. After Simmons struck out the next batter to record the second out, DeBrock stepped to the plate and stroked his big hit.

"Shae pitched well enough to win today," Scott City coach Lance Amick said. "For whatever reason, we made a few uncharacteristic errors."

Kelly (11-9) stroked seven hits off Simmons, who was replaced by Josh Henson during Kelly's seventh-inning rally.

"I didn't throw bad, I don't think," Simmons said. "They hit the ball well. ... Things happen for a reason. We're just not taking the same road as we did last year."

Wills wasn't surprised that his offense overcame a two-run deficit in the final inning against Simmons because his lineup has faced strong pitchers this spring.

"The way we hit the ball early in the game, I didn't think that we were out of it even in the seventh," Wills said. "And our schedule has prepared us for that. We're one of the smaller teams in the SEMO Conference and so when you've faced the likes of Jamie Pickel from Cape Central [it is preparation], and we've already faced Dylan Drury. We've already faced Colton Young. We've faced all the great pitchers that this area has to offer. So we are prepared for a Shae Simmons."

Kelly already had rallied back from a 3-0 deficit early in the game when it scored three times in the third to tie it 3-3.

Essner improved to 3-3 on the mound. He allowed three runs in the first but regrouped to keep Scott City hitless during the second, third and fourth innings. He gave up one run in the fifth and another in the sixth, but he held the lead in the seventh, stranding two Scott City baserunners.

"My curveball, I wasn't locating it great in the first inning," Essner said. "But I tried locating it better and things worked out. My defense made plays for me."

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WP -- Ryan Essner, 3-3. LP -- Shae Simmons, 3-3. 2B -- Jaris Hye (SC). Multiple hits -- Scott City: Jacob Cambell 2-3, Jaris Hye 2-4; Kelly: Ethan Lee 2-3, Essner 2-3, Dustin Crowden 2-4. Records -- Scott City 12-10, Kelly 11-9.

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