For the third consecutive game, the Lawrence Raiders saw themselves facing a deficit at the Al Ice Memorial Woodbat Classic.
But Saturday's showdown at Hoglund Ballpark with Blue Valley West had a different result - a 5-4 loss.
"We came out flat swinging the bat," Raiders outfielder Scott Heitshusen said. "We just struggled ... we couldn't get the ball in play that much, and if we did it was hit hard right to them."
After a three-up, three-down first inning, Heitshusen led off the second with a slapshot triple. Two batters later, a Brett Lisher single brought in Heitshusen for the first run of the game.
But following that, the Raiders' wood went silent as the Jaguars' J.D. Sutton retired the next 12 batters.
It wasn't the bats that put the Jaguars ahead, but the struggles of Daren Parker in the third inning that erased the Raiders' one-run lead.
After booting a grounder to lead off the inning, Parker issued two walks and hit two batters.
"It was just one of those days where not much seems to be going my way," Parker said. "But, not much you can do about it. The other team, they just capitalized on our mistakes and that's baseball."
John Sneegas was then brought in with the bases loaded - and still no outs - to go the rest of the way for the Raiders.
"Johnny came in and did an outstanding job for us," Raiders coach Troy Wingert said. "Obviously we were having a little control problems there in the third and he did exactly what we needed him to do - he came in and he pitched strikes."
A seventh-inning rally - started by a leadoff walk by Lisher - only saw Lisher and Andy Petz come around to score.
The failed rally forced a three-team tie in the American League division of pool play - with the Ozark (Mo.) Merchants the third team.
With the National League division having only one team with a winning record - the St. Louis Diamond Kings - the Raiders, Jaguars and Merchants all advanced to the semifinals.
The Raiders will get the chance to avenge their one-run loss, as they will face the Jaguars today at 12:30 p.m. at Hoglund Ballpark with the winner playing in the championship game at 3 p.m.
"We're only playing against the baseball. When we play against the baseball it doesn't matter who we're playing," Wingert said. "I think my boys are welcoming the fact that we get another shot at it, because I think they're a little ticked off. ... We're going to come out with a little chip on our shoulder and we're going to hook it up and play against the baseball."
Blue Valley West 5, Lawrence 4
Lawrence 010 001 2-4 5 2
Blue Valley West 004 100 x-5 4 0
W-J.D. Sutton. L-Daren Parker. 3b-Scott Heitshusen.