Washington's 5-2 win over Jefferson during the middle rounds of the area Sectional baseball tournament had plenty of important plays and moments, but the most definitive parts of the victory were the Patriots' four-run first inning and Jared Silva's one-walk, complete game pitching.
It was Silva's three-run home run as the game's third batter that was easily the thrust of the set-the-tempo first inning. And then it was his ability to stay mostly walk-free that carried the Patriots to their second win (against no losses) in the double-elimination tournament. Silva had to be almost walk-free. His defense made four errors. And he struck out only one of the 31 batters he saw.
Jefferson starter Andy Disque had emersed himself in neck-deep trouble when he walked the first two Washington batters to begin his trouble. Silva drilled a 2-1 pitch for a three-run homer . . . and after the game was only three batters old, the Patriots had a 3-0 lead.
Still in the first (and with nobody out), Robert Cross doubled, was sacrificed to third and scored on a Ryan French infield single.
Washington had a 4-0 lead before Silva ever faced a Jefferson batter.
That four-run lead was a vital ingredient in how the game moved along.
Jefferson threatened Silva and Silva's defense was unreliable too many times.
When Charles Barnholt replaced Disque, Jefferson held the Patriots in check until the last inning.
The Cougars were always one clutch hit away from damaging the senior Patriot right-hander.
Jefferson managed a run in the first when Paul Witt had a scratch hit and advanced two bases on wild pitches.
But Jefferson left the bases loaded in the second and two more runners in the fourth, an inning where it once had the bases loaded and no outs.
Washington couldn't score until very late against Barnholt, who walked only one after toiling through 5.1 innings of keeping the Cougars in the hunt.
Stranded runners was the most indelible impression Jefferson would hobble itself with as the innings ran out on its season.
Silva's home run and his wriggling free from the mounting problems the Cougars showed him were the twin impressions Washington left when the day was finally done in its favor.
The Cougars stranded eight, including two more in the seventh when Corey Lewis, placed perfectly off the foul line in left center, hauled in Miguel Acosta's line drive to end the game.
Both teams had seven hits. The difference was the four walks Washington received -- two that preceded Silva's early-game home run.
Both Washington and Musselman had lost two times during the season to Jefferson. Neither team had a win against the Cougars. After Saturday's game in the rain-plagued tournament, both Washington, with its 2-0 tournament record, and Musselman at 1-1, were alive and trying to get a Sectional championship that would send the survivor against Hedgesville, already the winner of the other area Sectional tournament.
Jefferson's season closed with a 25-7 record.
Washington's season continued on behind its four-run opening inning and the walk-free pitching of Silva.