O'FALLON — Logan Twehous was not going to be denied.
After his fifth shutout inning in the state semifinal game Thursday, he told coach Justin Towe that he was going to finish the game; Towe said he would come out of the game only if he walked a hitter.
He didn’t, and five outs later, the Rock Bridge High School pitcher watched a fly ball disappear into center fielder Connor Blumfield's glove before he rushed the visitor's dugout and into the arms of his teammates.
With a 2-0 win against Blue Springs South (23-12), the Bruins (23-12) will play for the Class 5A state championship for the first time in school history.
Twehous' start didn't look typical of a complete-game shutout in the beginning. He put two men in scoring position with just one out in the first inning.
"I didn't have my best stuff at all," Twehous said. "I wasn't locating my fastball or my curveball the way I wished to."
But coming back has been an important lesson for the Bruins. They finished the regular season just 17-12 despite a 10-game winning streak in the middle of the year.
Twehous, like the Bruins, regained his form.
He was able to rein himself in and strike out the Jaguar's fourth and fifth hitters and get out of the inning. Twehous notched seven strikeouts and allowed just three hits on the afternoon.
Rock Bridge struggled at the plate to start, too. Jaguar flamethrower and Nebraska commit Reece Eddins smothered the Bruins offense and did not surrender a run — until the fourth inning.
Towe said his team prides itself on its ability to play small ball. Without a single batted ball reaching the outfield, Rock Bridge mustered its first score in the top of the fourth inning on two infield singles, a sacrifice bunt and a suicide squeeze from senior Michael Buxton.
Junior Matt Widhalm crossed home plate before Eddins even reached the ball.
Buxton said Towe had told him he'd get a chance to put down a squeeze bunt in practice this week, so when the time came he was ready.
"Coach always preaches that, 'If you can't bunt, you can't play,'" Buxton said. "To know that we can get runs without having to hit it off the fence or in the gaps, it gives you a lot better feeling that you're going to come out on top."
In the next inning, Brumfield was able to scurry home on another infield hit from senior Kyle Teter.
The Bruins will face defending state champion Francis Howell at 1 p.m. Friday.
Towe told his players to stay focused and to remember one thing.
“Twenty-one more outs,” Towe said to his players in a postgame speech. “There are only 21 outs between you and your wildest dreams.”
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