JEFFERSON CITY — It was the perfect setting for 14-month-old Emma Reid's first baseball game.
She traveled with her family from Lubbock, Texas, to attend. She wore a custom-made Rock Bridge High School baseball jersey with her name on it, ate her first hot dog and got to watch her uncle, Rock Bridge senior outfielder Beau Burkett play in Tuesday's Class 4 sectional game.
Unfortunately for her, everything seemed to go against the Bruins. Helias Catholic defeated Rock Bridge 9-3 at Legion Field in Jefferson City to end the Bruins season at 22-7.
"We knew their guys could get a lot of strikes, so we were aggressive in the strike zone," Helias coach Chris Wyrick said.
Rock Bridge senior pitcher Ryan Phillips was unable to get off to a quick start, giving up back-to-back hits in the first inning, which gave the Crusaders an early 2-0 lead.
"They just hit the ball, and sometimes things just don't go your way in baseball," Phillips said.
The Bruins tried to respond right away in the bottom of the first. Phillips hit a single, and Crusaders senior pitcher Deion Hughes walked two batters to load the bases. However, the Bruins were unable to capitalize on the situation, and Hughes struck out three in a row to get out of the inning.
The Crusaders used solid hitting to take command of the game after that, resulting in Bruins coach Justin Towe replacing Phillips with senior pitcher Alex Brown in the fourth. But Brown gave up a run to a wild pitch.
Jansen Smith finally scored a run for the Bruins in the fifth, driven in by a Ryan Schmidt hit, but once again Rock Bridge ended the inning with men on base. Smith also scored in the sixth, driven in by Phillips, but the Bruins couldn't manage a big enough rally.
"We're not built to overcome four-run deficits, nonetheless nine," Towe said. "Those guys played a hell of a game."
Many of the Bruins seniors have different plans for after high school. Phillips, who has signed to play for the Missouri Tigers, will start attending MU in the summer to get acclimated to college classes. Burkett said he had plans to walk on to Tulane University's baseball team.
Like many of the seniors, this game will likely be baby Emma Reid's last Rock Bridge game.
"It's her first and final game," her father Josh Reid said. "Beau's the last brother to attend Rock Bridge."
Supervising editor is Grant Hodder.