(JUSTIN KELLEY ~ Special to the Southeast Missourian)
SPRINGFIELD -- When junior Wesley Glaus' fourth-inning home run cleared the fence in left field to give Notre Dame a 5-2 lead over Carl Junction, Bulldogs coach Jeff Graviett, who was coaching third base, jumped in the air in excitement.
Glaus said his teammates told him about Graviett's celebration. He didn't see it while rounding the bases then heading home, where be was mobbed by his teammates.
"I didn't pay attention a whole lot until I got to third base," Glaus said. "But everyone said he was jumping around. It feels good. That's all you can say -- it feels good."
Graviett said his excitement stemmed from seeing a ball leave the park after his team had hit into some hard outs and No. 6 hitter Mark Hagedorn had started the fourth inning by just barely missing a home run. Hagedorn's hit bounced off the base of the wall in left field.
"It just seemed like balls weren't falling our way," Graviett said. "And then when that one left the bat, all I was thinking was that was going to bounce off the fence again, which would have got us a run, but getting those three with that one swing was a big deal. Big moment in the game and you just knew that was going to be the start of a breaking point in the game."
Glaus, the No. 8 hitter, had a tremendous championship game. He made the case that he should be moved up in the order when next spring arrives. Glaus went 4-for-5, including smashing two home runs, which tied the record for most home runs in a final four game. He also drove in eight runs, which also tied the single-game final four record. Glaus' offensive show helped Notre Dame (29-1) to an 18-4 rout over Carl Junction in the Class 3 state championship game at Meador Park on Saturday.
"I was hitting the ball good finally," Glaus said. "Playoffs started and I just shortened my stance up a little, but nothing really different today though. ... Everything just started clicking up here at state."
Glaus' two homers came off fastballs. His second homer -- another three-run shot -- was part of Notre Dame's 12-run seventh inning, which put the game out of reach for Carl Junction.
Not a bad day for a hitter who entered the game with one home run this spring.
The junior also stroked a two-run double into the gap in left-center field to drive in Notre Dame's first two runs. That double tied the game 2-2 in the second inning after Carl Junction scored a pair of unearned runs in the first inning off starter Dylan Drury.
Glaus might be one of the players who steps in next year to fill a spot in the middle of the batting order with Nos. 3 and 4 hitters Austin Greer and Dylan Drury graduating.
"We've got some huge shoes to fill," Graviett said. "We've got some great seniors that we're missing, but the ability is there with guys like Wes, Jeremy [Essner], who hit well for us, and Trenton St. Cin, who came in off the bench today. Those guys are capable of holding down the middle of that order for us next year. We'll have to put it back together because we are losing some great players, but you saw today what we're capable of."
Glaus primarily was a defensive specialist last year as a sophomore.
Glaus not only was impressive with the bat, but he got to squeeze the final out of the game -- although he didn't know immediately that he was squeezing the final out. A 4-6-3 double play ended the game.
Glaus didn't look aware that the game was over as his teammates started to celebrate before he did.
"I didn't realize that we had three outs," Glaus said. "I just thought it was two. I didn't even think a whole lot about it."
When asked when he realized his team was the Class 3 state champion, he said: "When Hags and Dylan jumped up together and everyone started running."