Patient hitting and strong pitching were the keys to Rock Bridge's 9-1 road win at Rolla High School in the first round of the Class 5 state tournament Tuesday.
Head coach Justin Towe said the game had an "eerie feeling" because it was error-free.
"It was a clean game, no drama — something you don't see a lot of in high school baseball," Towe said.
Towe said his hitters saw the ball well and "hit it square," all because they were patient at the plate. Rolla's pitchers didn't throw hard, but they tried to keep Rock Bridge batters off balance. But Towe said his players showed restraint, taking first pitches so they could get their timing down and make better swings.
"We didn't want to go up there just hacking at something," Towe said.
The Bruins tallied eight hits, six of which went for extra bases.
Connor Brumfield had two doubles and Logan Twehous, Matt Widhalm and Eric Kuse each added another.
Kuse's double started a rally in the third inning which led to Rock Bridge's first run. Kuse advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt, and Avery Jennings drove him home with a two-out single. That run lead many more as the Bruins scored consecutively in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Accompanying the hot bats was some solid pitching. Chandler Wyatt picked up the win, striking out three and giving up only three hits and one run over four innings. Adam Lafferty and Ryan Bernskoetter were strong in relief — neither surrendered a hit or a run, Towe said.
Up next for the Bruins is the winner of the Nixa (24-4) vs. Willard (22-10) game. The two schools were supposed to play Tuesday, but their game was rained out. They will play their first-round game at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
If Nixa wins, Rock Bridge will play on the road at 5 p.m. Thursday in Nixa. If Willard wins, the Bruins will host the quarterfinal match-up at 5 p.m. Thursday in Columbia.
Willard knocked Rock Bridge out of last year's state tournament with a 3-2 win in the quarterfinals, Towe said.
Towe said he told his teammates to be happy but not to be satisfied, and he reminded them of last year's quarterfinal exit.