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Solid fundamentals carry Central past Jackson
Central executed its bunts in its 6-4 tournament win
Central senior Josh Compas found himself on both side of a bases-loaded situation in the decisive fifth inning of the his team's SEMO Conference tournament quarterfinal game against host Jackson on Friday.
Compas, who is used to being called on when a game's outcome is up in the air, came through at the plate and on the mound to help his team to a 6-4 victory over the Indians at Whitey Herzog Stadium.
"That's just his job," Central coach Steve Williams said of his closer. "He's good at that. He doesn't get shaken or nervous in those kind of situations."
With the Tigers trailing 1-0, Compas drew a bases-loaded walk from Jackson starter Bobby Clark in the top of the fifth that helped lead to a three-run inning for his team.
"I thought he was getting a little bit tired," Compas said of his approach to facing Clark. "I knew he threw me curveballs just about all day. I only saw a couple fastballs and I knew when he threw me a fastball it wasn't going to be his best, so I was looking for one of those."
Compas struck out looking during his previous at-bat.
"It takes guts after you get called out one time for him to be able to take that pitch for ball four," Williams said. "I was very proud of him both at the plate and in the field."
Josh Hiett led off the inning with a single before back-to-back sacrifice bunt attempts for Central turned into two base hits.
"With the way the game was being played in the tournament with wood bats and everything, there is a premium on base running and execution," Williams said. "So we wanted to make sure that when we had opportunities to move runners, to get them in scoring position, we could do that."
Williams said he probably would not have called for the bunts had the teams been using aluminum bats as it does during the regular season.
"It was good baseball on their part," Clark said. "The first one I think [catcher] Tyler [Qualls] slipped and then I messed up bunt coverage. We just didn't execute when we needed to."
Compas started the bottom of the fifth inning catching Central starter Jamie Pickel. But after Pickel issued a walk to load the bases with two outs, he moved to the mound to try to preserve the Tigers' 3-1 lead.
"He's got a good arm and a good fastball and curveball and that gives him a chance to get a strikeout," Williams said. "Late in the game, strikeouts are at a premium. If you can get an out without having to make a play, that's huge."
Compas struck out Tyler Koch to end the inning, but not before hitting Bobby Clark to allow Jackson to score a run.
"Basically I'm just coming in looking to throw strikes," Compas said. "One got away from me and slipped out of my hand and came in a little inside. He was coming around and then he just couldn't get out of the way of it."
Jackson tried to play catch up after the Tigers scored three more times in the sixth inning on RBI hits by Hiett, Pickel and Josh Meyer, but Jackson fell short. The Indians stranded 10 runners and walked seven Central batters.
"I think it was a combination of we didn't play as well as we should have and Cape just came out and had hits when they needed it and executed their bunts perfectly," Jackson coach Tatum Kitchen said.
With the win, No. 5 seed Central pulled off a mild upset over its fourth-seeded rivals and avenged a 9-1 loss April 17.
"I'm very excited about that," Compas said. "We played very poorly our first game against them, which it showed with the score. It feels really good to come out and put a win like this away."
WP -- Jamie Pickel. LP -- Bobby Clark. 3B -- Clay Baker (C). 2B -- Clark (J), Josh Hiett (C). Multiple hits -- Central: Hiett 3-4, Pickel 2-3; Jackson: Baker 2-3, Dylan Koehler 2-3.