JEFFERSON CITY — The Rock Bridge baseball team piled atop each other on the mound Wednesday night at Vivion Field, district champions thanks to what got them there in the first place: their bats.
Slapping each other in that pile were hands responsible for yet another Rock Bridge offensive explosion, this one a 12-hit barrage that resulted in a 13-7 win over Camdenton.
"I always say you don't want to hang your hat on hitting because hitting can come and go at the drop of a hat," Bruins coach Justin Towe said. "It's still pretty nice when you can put up crooked numbers."
Towe remembers the difficulties last year's district championship team had with scoring runs. That was a pitching-and-defense-based squad, a team that beat its opponents despite troubles with the stick.
But the 2013 Bruins have made the crooked number consistent. Despite ace Kyle Teter out with an elbow injury and the lack of a dominant replacement, the Bruins have kept winning, and it's because they keep slugging.
Seven of the nine players in the starting lineup have batting averages greater than .300. Most of those are closer to .400, and cleanup hitter Jansen Smith is at .500. It was big nights from these regulars that lifted the Bruins to the Class 5, District 9 title over Camdenton.
"Our hitters have so much confidence," Towe said. "They square the ball up, and then they can do so many things with their legs: bunting, slapping, putting so much pressure on everyone."
Center fielder Connor Brumfield is a model of this. The sophomore went 3-for-5 Wednesday, driving in four runs with his bat and scoring two more with his legs. He lined an RBI single in the first inning and advanced to second when the right fielder bobbled it. He doubled deep to left center his next time up, able to cruise to second this time.
Brumfield has been widely productive out of the No. 3 spot in the lineup all season. But it has been the emergence of shortstop Logan Twehous, who bats seventh and has struggled at times this season, that has made the Bruins truly formidable.
"When he's right, he can hit the ball a long way," Towe said. "Lately he's been more right than wrong."
Twehous' sacrifice fly in the first inning put Rock Bridge up 3-0, and his booming RBI triple over the right fielder's head in the second was his second booming RBI triple over a right fielder's head in two games.
Those were two of Twehous' three biggest hits of the year. The other was a bases-clearing double on April 30 against Jefferson City. All three blasts came at Vivion Field, the same diamond the Bruins rolled around on Wednesday night, tackling and dumping the Gatorade jug on each other.
Rock Bridge advances to a sectional game against Lebanon at 5 p.m Tuesday at Rock Bridge.