After Sayre knocked off Lafayette 6-2 in the 11th Region baseball tournament opener at Henry Clay on Monday, Spartans Coach Kevin Clary conceded it had to be labeled an upset.
"I'd have to say so, because Lafayette was undefeated (10-0) in its district and ranked No. 2 in the state.
"But," Clary added, "we were confident we could play with them. We weren't intimidated."
Aidan Elias, who starred on the mound and at the plate, said he and his teammates "expected" to beat Lafayette.
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"Our goal is the state," he said. "We're trying to win it all, and we knew we'd have to play Lafayette sometime in the region, so we wanted them first, and we got them."
Elias played a major role in the Spartans' first region victory in 18 years.
The junior right-hander threw a complete game, scattering six hits, striking out two and walking five. He also hit a batter.
"He was effectively wild," Lafayette Coach Chris Langston said. "We couldn't get a rhythm on him because he wasn't around the plate until he needed to be. He did a good job of that."
Elias said he didn't have his best stuff, "so I just had to give it to (Lafayette) and let my defense play behind me."
Elias gave up an unearned run in the second. The Generals' Jackson Boggs reached on an error and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
Sayre tied it in the fifth off Lafayette starter Alex Daniel. After Sam Van Balen and Mason Jasko singled, Elias' third hit of the day drove in pinch-runner Sam Stayton.
It stayed 1-1 until the top of the seventh, when Sayre scored five runs with outs.
The Spartans loaded the bases with one out. John Van Balen singled, his brother Sam walked and Jasko singled. Lafayette reliever Sam Shelley struck out Elias for the second out.
That brought Michael Flora to the plate with the pressure on. "Hearing all the fans behind me yelling and everything made me try to focus even more," he said.
With the count 3-2, Flora laid off a curveball and took a walk that forced in the go-ahead run.
"Michael's got a great eye for the strike zone, and if he doesn't swing it's probably not a strike," Clary said.
Christian Courtney, who's been clutch at crunch time lately, followed with a two-run single to make it 4-2.
Two Lafayette errors allowed another run to score, and Sam Van Balen capped the inning with an RBI single, his second hit of the inning.
Elias said "it was awesome" to see that five-spot on the scoreboard for the Spartans.
He gave up three hits and a run in the bottom of the seventh, but he got an unassisted put-out to finish off the Generals.
"What a great competitor," Clary said of Elias. "He was just a bulldog out there."
The Spartans were low-key after pulling off the upset because they weren't surprised.
"We knew if we played well we had a chance to do something big," Courtney said.
Lafayette finished the season 32-6 after leaving 11 runners on base.
"We just didn't get the big hit like we've done all year," Langston said. "Just one of those things.
"But I'm so proud of my seniors. They were a special group of guys who worked so hard and played for each other."
Sayre 6, Lafayette 2
Sayre 000 010 5—6 9 1
Lafayette 010 000 1—2 6 2
Aidan Elias and John Van Balen. Alex Daniel, Sam Shelley (7) and Johnny Fangmeyer. 2B—Blake Marshall (L), Eric Vander Boegh (L).
Records: Sayre 24-13; Lafayette 32-6.