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For first time in 49 years, Eagles gain State berth with 5-4 Quarterfinal victory


A Nixa comeback over the final two innings and another shutdown relief outing by Colin Kelley lifted the Eagles to a 5-4 Class 6 Quarterfinal triumph at Blue Springs on Saturday.

Nixa (32-6) advances to State for the first time in 49 years.

The Eagles rallied from a 3-1, sixth-inning deficit by plating four runs in the sixth.

Tanner Grant had the biggest hit of the day, a two-run double that made it 4-3. He later scored on a wild pitch.

Earlier in the sixth, Rylan Michel doubled and Reese Dirnberger delivered an RBI on a ground ball.

Nixa made Blue Springs pay dearly for taking out starting pitcher Cole Gibler, after he allowed a double to Rylan Michel and a ground ball by Caeden Cloud was misplayed by the Wildcats.

Nixa was shut out over the first three innings, before Jack Edwards produced an RBI-single in the fourth.

Kelley provided three scoreless innings of relief to gain the win. He pitched to contract while yielding one hit and two walks and striking out one.

In the post-season, Kelley has thrown a combined eight innings of shutout relief.

Ethan Taylor earned the save by throwing the seventh inning. The game ended with a Blue Springs runner being hit by a ground ball between first and second.

Nixa moves on to the Final Four and will meet Liberty North (32-7) at 7 p.m. at Sky Bacon Stadium, formerly U.S. Baseball Park.

Liberty North extended its streak of shutouts to five games by blanking Rockhurst 2-0 Saturday. The Eagles have outscored their post-season foes by a combined margin of 17-0.

The other semifinal will pit Jackson against Francis Howell.