The baseball Lakers survived an upset scare from the Jefferson City Jays Monday, May 16, riding a late-inning rally to a 3-1 first-round victory. 

As the No. 1 seed, Camdenton (24-8) came into the Class 5, District 5 tournament playing the No. 8 seeded Jefferson City for their first game of the playoffs. Despite the Jays having just seven regular season wins under their belts, for the first five innings of Monday morning’s game at the American Legion Field in Jefferson City they appeared to have Camdenton’s number. 

Jeff City put up a run in the third inning to take a 1-0 lead over the home-team Lakers, and their starting pitcher stifled Camdenton’s bats to the tune of just two hits over the first five innings of play. Mitch Orozco got the start for Camdenton and aside from the run he allowed early on, had also kept the Jays fairly quiet and gave his team a chance to come back. 

And come back these Lakers did. 

In the bottom of the sixth, down by one, Camdenton got the line moving and some much needed momentum going when Spencer Mellencamp led off the inning with a single up the middle, followed by Taden Graves getting hit by a pitch, and a well executed bunt-single by Karson Durnin to load the bases with nobody out. Leadoff man Jackson Basham then sent a fly ball to right field, potentially scoring the tying run on a sacrifice fly, but confusion among the baserunners resulted in no one tagging up on the fly out and the Jays getting the first out of the inning without allowing a run to score. 

Kam Durnin then came to the plate and hit a line drive single to left field, scoring Mellencamp and tying the game at one run apiece. With the bases still loaded, Conner Miller reached first on a fielder’s choice that got the lead runner out at home, keeping the game tied and recording the second out of the inning. 

With the Jays just one out away from getting out of a bases loaded jam having surrendered only one run, Kade Durnin was up to bat with the chance to hand his team the late lead. He came through, doubling to left center field on a two-strike count to push two more runs across for the Lakers and take a 3-1 lead. Cole Hilton flied out to center field to end the inning, but Camdenton had already done the damage they needed, recording twice as many hits in the inning as they had in the previous five to put themselves in the driver’s seat with one inning to play. 

Now pitching with a two-run lead, Orozco came back out for the top of the seventh and, after issuing a leadoff walk, induced a double play ball from the next batter and got the last out of the game on a groundout to shortstop to seal their late-game comeback win over Jefferson City, 3-1. 

With their win over Jeff City, the Lakers advanced to play the Washington Blue Jays with a ticket to the district title game on the line. Camdenton and Washington will play in the semifinals today Wednesday, May 18, at 3 p.m. at the American Legion Field in Jefferson City. 

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