The Willard High School baseball team got a typical Anthony Caenepeel performance from its senior pitcher on Friday night.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, the team ran into an atypical performance from Parkway North sophomore Joseph Hope in the Class 4 state semifinals at Meador Park.
Hope threw a no-hitter in the 1-0 win, leading Parkway North to its first title-game appearance.
"I was a little shaky all week, but (the looseness) just came, and it's awesome," Hope said. "I have a great team behind me, so why would I be nervous?"
The sophomore walked Jed Owen twice and had two batters reach on errors. It was the 13th no-hitter in Missouri State High School Activities Association state finals history, the first since 2002.
Hope, who entered the game with a 4.15 earned run average, said it's been a couple years since he threw a no-hitter. He realized what was occurring in about the fifth or sixth inning, he said, and his teammates dutifully ignored him in the dugout between innings.
The Parkway North offense could only help him with a run in the third inning, however.
Daniel Brodsky drew a two-out walk in the third to bring up Parkway North's best hitter, Michael Bozarth. After a stolen base, Bozarth drove a ball down the third-base line just a few feet foul.
On the next pitch, however, a ball hit in the same direction went just fair, scoring the game's only run.
"I made one bad pitch and the kid hit a double and scored," said Caenepeel, who struck out 10 batters and allowed four hits.
"It was just a vintage Anthony Caenepeel performance," Willard coach Scott McGee said. "He's thrown like that every time we've given him the ball for two years. It's unfortunate we couldn't find a way to give him a couple runs and get him a win, because he did enough to deserve it."
Added Hope: "Their pitcher was just as good as (me). But we just scored one run."
Willard (22-10) plays in today's 7 p.m. consolation game against top-ranked Liberty.
"We're just going to show up and try to show that we are a good team and come out and beat a really good team for third place," Caenepeel said.
Willard had thrived on moving over runners during its nine-game winning streak, which ended Friday.
However, the Tigers did not get the leadoff runner on base until the seventh. Owen, who reached on all three plate appearances, led off by reaching on an error. Then, Michael Burgess bunted Owen over to second base.
But Hope did not back down, getting the last two Willard batters .
"We just didn't trust our hands at any point tonight," McGee said. "(Hope) mixed his pitches really well, and we just didn't respond."
Parkway North 1, Willard 0