Thursday afternoon's high school baseball game between Washington and Jefferson brought together the county's two schools for the first time this season. At press time, the match up final is unknown; however, both teams have flourished in the early going. Washington was unbeaten in its first five games and Jefferson was 7-1 overall after smothering Spring Mills in a 10-run rule win on Tuesday night.
While the records are similar, the respective pitching staffs and lineups show marked differences.
Washington has a reliable pitching foursome in senior Jared Silva and juniors Mark McKee, Ryan French and Trevor Pansch.
Jefferson has won seven straight times since a season-opening loss to Hedgesville by a 7-6 count.
And the Cougars have been winning with a trio of freshmen pitchers in Austin Bulman, Austin Cross and Dylan Carroll along with junior left-hander Andy Disque.
Third-year starter Hunter Weaver, Zac Burch, Bryan Bayliss, Blake Wilt and Dylan Mumaw have joined with Silva, French, and McKee to provide Coach Mark Hash with enough offense to score at least six runs in every game. The Patriots own an eight-run win over Hedgesville.
Jefferson's lone senior every-day player is catcher Garrett Everton, the team's catalyst from his lead-off spot in Coach John Lowery's batting order. Andrew King provides the Cougars with a lofty batting average, much of the team's power and reliable RBIs.
Sophomores Charles Barnholt, Chase Crockett and Paul Witt have all provided consistent offense as the Cougars own four wins by the so-called mercy rule.
William Oliver, Brody Price, Miguel Acosta and the three freshmen pitchers have also contributed heavily to Jefferson's early-season run production.
After playing Thursday's game at Bruce Davidson Field at Washington High, the Cougars travel to Moorefield for a doubleheader Saturday and then both teams will spend next week in Myrtle Beach for game-heavy tournaments.
Washington's first three games at the beach are against Newburgh (NY) Free Academy, Pennfield (NY) Central and Frewsburg (NY) Central. Jefferson will face South Lakes (Va.), St. James (SC) and Canfield (Ohio) in its first three games the week of April 14.
The second of the two games between Washington and Jefferson is scheduled for Tuesday, April 22, at 6 p.m. at Sager Field in Shenandoah Junction.
Washington and Jefferson have both been winning while using different formulas. The Patriots have experienced starters at most infield and outfield positions and their pitchers all had a number of starts and innings last season. Jefferson has a vault of underclassmen and nearly an entirely new pitching staff. The formulas have worked so well that the teams have combined for a 12-1 record in games through Tuesday.