COLUMBIA — On April 12, the Rock Bridge and Hickman baseball teams needed eight innings before either could manage to push a runner across home plate.
The Bruins finally broke the scoreless tie after a walk-off single by freshman Connor Brumfield in the bottom of the eighth brought home the game's only run.
When the teams met again Monday, things looked like they were going to play out the same way. Through nine innings the Kewpies and the Bruins remained tied at zero and had only combined for five hits.
In the top of the 10th, Kewpies starter Jordan See, who had five strikeouts and carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning, relinquished the mound to Sam Wright.
The previous inning, Wright, pinch hitting for See, launched a ball deep into left field. The crowd and the Kewpies' dugout leaped to their feet in excitement, hoping the senior had broken the 0-0 tie with a walk-off home run.
To the Kewpies' disappointment, the ball calmly fell into the glove of Bruins left fielder Jansen Smith, 10 feet short of the left field wall.
So Wright stepped to the mound and tried to continue where See had left off. After walking Bruins' Michael Buxton, Ryan Phillips stepped up to the plate.
Phillips, who had moved from shortstop to take over for Rock Bridge starting pitcher Ryan Schmidt in the eighth inning, had been dominating the Kewpies' batters for two innings with a fastball in the mid-80s and a sharp slider. He decided it was time to make his mark on the game on the offensive end.
"I was really just looking to protect the plate and go opposite field," Phillips said. "I was just looking for a pitch I could handle, and I just shot it into right."
Phillips produced the game's only extra-base hit, a double that put two runners in scoring position for right fielder Beau Burkett.
Burkett then hit a dribbler to second base that looked like a sure double play before being misplayed by Kewpies' second baseman Ryan McMahan.
The two runs that came in off the error proved to be the difference, and for the second straight time this season, the Kewpies fell to the Bruins in extra innings.
Although Phillips ended up getting the win, Bruins coach Justin Towe said he was most pleased with his starting pitcher's performance on the mound.
"Schmidt has had some really tough outings, he has been pitching his tail off and we just can't seem to get him a win," Towe said. "He's a real battler, he would still be out there pitching right now if we would let him."
Schmidt said he had confidence in his team and wasn't worried about the Bruins' lack of offense.
"I never felt we were in danger of losing, I just kept trying to put zeros up on the board." Schmidt said. " I knew we would score eventually, even if it was a little later than we might have wanted."
Rock Bridge's next game is Senior Night at home against Fatima at 5 p.m. Tuesday
Hickman's next game is a makeup game against St. Charles at 5 p.m. Tuesday at home.
Supervising editor is Grant Hodder