Overland Park The Free State High baseball team used early offense and another strong pitching performance by junior Caleb Gress to knock off previously unbeaten Shawnee Mission South, 6-3, on Thursday in a battle of Sunflower League heavyweights.
Senior catcher Andy Petz stroked a two-run homer in the top of the first as the Firebirds (8-1 overall, 3-1 league) jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead.
"I think that's huge," said Free State coach Mike Hill of the immediate runs. "Even though it's still fairly early (in the season), in many ways it was one of those pressure games."
Free State added three more runs in the fourth, and Gress made it stand up, tossing 51â3 innings and striking out nine while improving to 3-0.
Petz finished 3-for-4 with a homer, triple and three RBIs.
Free State will return to action at 4 p.m. today against Olathe South at the College Boulevard Activities Complex.