Baseball sectional gets underway
Three Class AAA schools will be chasing after the area’s Sectional baseball title and the right to move along the sometimes bumpy tournament trail to the Region II tournament this weekend when top-ranked Jefferson, senior-studded Washington and upset-minded Musselman get into the thick of the double elimination tournament.
The tournament actually had its start yesterday (Thursday) when Washington hosted Musselman at Bruce Davidson Field. The Patriots defeated the Applemen every time they saw them in the 2015 season.
This evening (Friday), it will be twice-beaten Jefferson hosting the loser of Thursday’s game between Washington and Musselman. The tournament continues on Saturday when Jefferson hosts another game.
Sectional play extends on into early next week before the champion is determined.
Jefferson closed out its regular season with a state-best 30-2 overall record. In the latest Charleston Gazette newspaper poll, the Cougars moved to the top of the rankings after Nitro lost its sixth game of the season. Hurricane, which Jefferson defeated at Hurricane, was ranked second and other top-rated teams included Logan and Huntington.
The Cougars own a 4-0 record in combined games against Washington and Musselman. All four games were close with Jefferson taming the Patriots by scores of 3-1 and 2-0 and moving past the Applemen by scores of 7-5 and 4-1.
Jefferson’s long list of capable pitchers (Andy Disque, Bradley Davis, Dylan Carroll, Austin Cross, Charlie Barnholt, Austin Bulman and Andrew King is matched by Washington (Zac Burch, Connor Nurse, Ryan French, Trevor Pansch, Mark McKee and Robert Cross).
The Cougars have scored more runs than has Washington and usually field a batting order that features Wil Oliver, Paul Witt, Andrew King, Charlie Barnholt, Chase Crockett, Austin Bulman, Joseph Mills and Brody Price. Michael Tennant, Jordan Beans and Dylan Mackey have all helped Jefferson with timely hits.
Washington counters with its usual lineup of Corey Lewis, Ryan French, Hunter Weaver, Robert Cross, Mark McKee, Texas Cobb, Jeffrey Silvestre and Trevor Pansch. Isaac Heavener and Ty Carroll have added their offense at times.
In its last games of the regular season, Washington beat Hampshire, 8-3, but lost to Bridgeport, the top-rated Class AA team in the state, 3-0, and Wheeling Park, 8-1. The Patriots were 18-9 overall nearing the end of the regular season.
Jefferson’s losses were to Hammonton (New Jersey) and Bridgeport in a game where the Cougars had a 7-0 lead.
Washington was the winner of the 2014 Sectional tournament, while Jefferson has won at least 20 games for 39 years in a row.