Pitcher’s duel goes to Jefferson
The way the pitchers were mowing down the batters, the outcome of the Jefferson vs. Washington baseball game was going to hinge on one or two plays . . . possibly a clutch hit . . . or even a game-saving defensive play.
Washington’s Connor Nurse had a perfect game through three innings. Jefferson’s Andy Disque wasn’t nearly that flawless but had kept the Patriots to just one run through five innings of effective pitching.
Washington was protecting its one-run lead when the Cougars breathed life into their listless offense.
Wil Oliver drilled a line single to left and was successfully sacrificed to second by Disque. After moving to third on an outfield fly out, Oliver scored when Michael Tennant’s slow infield tapper couldn’t be turned into an inning-ending out. A bounced throw to first that wasn’t handled cleanly was turned into a game-tying run by the Cougars.
Disque was replaced by Charlie Barnholt in the middle of the sixth. And Barnholt fanned the two men he faced in ending that Washington inning.
Nurse would see his excellent tenure end in the seventh.
He walked Disque after getting ahead in the count at 1-2. Chase Crockett’s single to right moved Disque over to third. Crockett sailed into second on a wide throw back to the infield.
When Zac Burch replaced Nurse, Washington brought its infield in for a possible play at the plate.
Burch struck out Tennant . . . but wasn’t as effective against pinch-hitter Jordon Beans. Beans sent a soft line drive to shallow center that fell in for a two-run single.
Jefferson had a 3-1 lead . . . and the clutch hit that would finally decide the winner in the crisply played game at Bruce Davidson Field.
Barnholt would struggle with his control in the Patriot seventh, but eventually would overcome his two walks by getting the last two men he faced.
Jefferson’s versatile, athletic, pitcher-rich and experienced team had advanced its record to 16-1 while Washington’s pitcher-rich and nearly as experienced team dipped to 11-5 overall.
The pitchers owned the breezy and quickly-played baseball afternoon.
And one or two plays decided the two-run game in Jefferson’s favor.