SPRINGFIELD, MO. -- College football coaches around the country are chasing after Rockwood Summit High junior Eric Beisel.
The 6'4, 230-pounder is considered one of the best linebackers in the state, and ever since his first game his sophomore year, Beisel has been one of the most sought after football recruits in the midwest.
But Saturday afternoon, in the MSHSAA Class 4 state championship baseball game at historic Meador Park, Beisel showed he can do more than sack quarterbacks and bring down ballcarriers.
And he did so by whacking a high fastball off the right-field wall with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning, to cap a spine-tingling comeback that lifted Summit to a 4-3 win over rival , claiming for the Falcons, their first state championship in school history.
"Unbelievable man, it's just unbelievable," Beisel said, during a frantic celebration on the field by the Summit players and coaches. "I can't believe we did it! This is the best feeling in the world!"
Indeed it must've been for a Summit club that nobody thought would be the eventual state champion in Missouri Class 4 this year.
But Droege has called these Falcons the most resilient team he's ever coached, and they continued to back that up moniker with constant upset playoff victories over St. Louis-area No. 1 Vianney, No. 3 Parkway South, and ESPN Powerade Fab 50 No. 22 Liberty.
But despite a loss to Parkway North to open the season and a mediocre 14-11 record at the start of districts, Summit just kept on winning, and earned their first ever trip to the title game by blowing out Liberty on Friday, 10-3.
On Saturday though, it looked like Summit's win streak might come to an end, as Parkway North led 3-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.
But Summit pieced together an error, a ground-rule double, and an RBI groundball to get one run, then scored two runs in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the seventh to win the game.
North, who had turned to closer Michael Bozarth in the sixth to get out of that jam, hoped the senior Saint Louis University recruit had enough to get through the final inning and clinch the Vikings' first state baseball title ever.
But a leadoff walk, a throwing error on a bunt by Bozarth, and an intentional walk, brought Summit cleanup man Brian Quasebarth to the plate with a chance to win the game.
Instead, Quasebarth walked to drive in senior Clayton Evans to tie the game.
That brought Beisel to the plate, needing to make any kind of contact to win the game.
North countered with a desperation defensive move and brought replacement centerfielder Justin Campbell in from the outfield to play a fifth infielder position, with the hope being that someone could cut down the runner at home if Beisel hit a groundball.
But Summit's leading home run hitter had other plans, and smashed a shot of the wall in deep right-centerfield that would've scored everybody, but only needed to drive in senior Kyle Younger with the game-winning run.
"I knew when he hit it that it would at least be deep enough to drive in the run," Droege said. "But then I saw that they weren't going to catch it all, and I just lost it. I remember jumping up and down. I don't really remember anything else."
For Parkway North, it was a stunning defeat just three outs away from winning their first state championship.
North built 3-1 lead by scoring twice in the second inning and once in the sixth. Starting pitcher Freshman Joey Reeves left the game in the second inning as Viking coaches appeared to not want to take any chances with the young man's health.
Junior Jon Shanker, who was 3-for-3, with two RBIs, and a runs scored for the Vikes, had run-scoring singles in both innings, and was all set up to be player of the game if North could've held on to the lead.
But the day belonged to the Falcons, who soared to new heights on Saturday, the likes of which have never been reached before in school history.