JEFF CITY SEMI PREVIEW
O'FALLON - The Jefferson City High School baseball team is in the final four of the Class 5 Baseball Championships for the second consecutive year.
The Jays are looking to avenge last year's runner up finish to win their first state title since 1989.
The last time Jefferson City won a state title, the Jays were playing in Class 4A before the "A" was removed and baseball expanded to five classes.
Last year, the Jays couldn't get nail down the championship, falling to Francis Howell 8-2.
Despite coming just short of ending the drought, Jefferson City players saw the experience as a positive one.
"That was just a big deal for us to get there just to prove what we were capable of," infielder Kade Franks said. "Obviously getting second wasn't what we wanted, but getting there again this year, it's given us another chance to get in first, and that means everything."
Franks, who was instrumental at the plate in districts, also said the experience helped the team's swagger.
"This year, we've proved ourselves even more, staying at number one throughout the year," Franks said. "We're more confident than ever that, if we get to that state title game, we're going to get a win and we're going to get a state title for Jeff City."
The baseball team isn't the only one in a drought at Jefferson City High School.
According to Baseball Coach Brian Ash, no Jefferson City athletic team has won a state championship since the softball team did it in 2009.
"I think anytime you got an opportunity to play for a state championship, it's always important, not only for the school and the community, but for theses players," Ash said. "I know since they were freshmen, it's always been a goal of theirs."
For the players, the drought only makes a potential title win more exciting.
"Our school has only had one, and our school hasn't had a state title in any sport in quite a while," pitcher Jacob Weirich said. "So to get one back for our city, that'd be huge."
Jefferson City will take on Lee's Summit Friday evening in the second semifinal game.
When the two teams met in early April, Jefferson City won 11-1.
If the Jays win, they will play the winner of the other semifinal between Vianney and Fort Zumwalt West Saturday afternoon in the championship game.