OZARK — The "Cardiac Cadets" ran out of gas Friday.
Living on the edge for victories in its last two games, CBC couldn't muster another rally and fell 8-2 to Liberty of Kansas City in a Class 6 baseball state semifinal at U.S. Ballpark.
"You can only live by that for so long and eventually it will bite you," CBC coach Mason Horne said. "We needed to string together three or four hits in a row and we just couldn't do it."
CBC (23-11) will play in the Class 6 third-place game at 4 p.m. Saturday and Liberty will play in the championship game at 6:30 p.m.
This is the furthest the Cadets have advanced in the postseason since winning the Class 5 state championship in 2015.
CBC won the district title 2-1 against De Smet in extra innings before surging from behind to win its quarterfinal game 3-2 against Lindbergh.
But after CBC threatened in the fifth and sixth innings, the Blue Jays went to the bullpen and brought in their big gun of junior Karson Milbrandt to close the door.
"You can see that he's got electric stuff," Liberty coach Kirk Bragg said. "When he's on, it gives such a great chance to win."
After 5 2-3 strong innings from sophomore Kai Bennett, Milbrandt came on and pitched a perfect 1 1-3 innings with two strikeouts.
Knowing that he had a cannon behind him gave Bennett some confidence. But pitching in big games all season long gave the sophomore even more confidence in starting the biggest game of his high school career.
"I was nervous, for sure, but through the postseason I've been put in those positions before and we all just have to have that right mindset," Bennett said.
His confidence never wavered, even after CBC sophomore. Nazzan Zanetello unloaded on a fastball and deposited it over the tall left-field fence.
"(Nazzan) is a really good hitter," Bragg said. "He's been hitting the ball all season. We knew we'd be in trouble if we left one over the plate for him."
The Cadets cycled through three pitchers after starter Michael Walsh threw four innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and striking out one.
"It was the third time through their lineup there and we just needed almost like a basketball timeout to flip things," Horne said. "For us, we didn't do enough to win offensively. If we can put a couple more runs on the board and make them play a little more defensive, I think it changes the momentum of the game."