State tournament next for Cougars
Jordan Beans had a pinch-hit grand slam home run, Bradley Davis kept Buckhannon quiet and Jefferson crushed the Buccaneers, 15-0, to reach the Class AAA state tournament in Charleston.
Making quick work of the Buccaneers meant the Cougars had upped their overall record to 35-2 and had joined Greenbrier East, Wheeling Park and Nitro in the state tournament field. Jefferson was scheduled to play Greenbrier East on June 4 while Nitro met Wheeling Park in the other semifinal game. The Class AAA state championship game is scheduled for June 6.
Even though the Cougars eventually mauled Buckhannon, the game was still close when Beans was inserted as a pinch hitter in the third. Jefferson’s lead was 3-0 when Beans crashed his important homer to left that scored Austin Bulman, Chase Crockett and Michael Tennant in front of him.
Davis had silenced Buckhannon’s lineup . . . and when Beans delivered his grand slam it made the Buccaneer task all but impossible.
Jefferson easily breached the 10-run, mercy rule when it sent 12 batters to the plate in the next inning, scoring another eight runs to extend the lead to 15-0.
The entire Jefferson batting order contributed to the continuing onslaught.
Andrew King had three hits, scored twice and drove in two runs. Paul Witt had two RBIs and scored twice.
Wil Oliver scored two times. Charlie Barnholt drove in two runs.
Bulman had two hits, scored twice and had one RBI. Crockett scored twice.
Tennant scored a run, and Brody Price had a hit, drove in a run and scored once.
Davis struck out five in his five innings of three-hit, one-walk pitching.
The Buccaneers jeopardized and then ruined any chance they had by issuing five walks, committing four errors, seeing five bases stolen against them, hitting a batter and having their first baserunner picked off. Buckhannon’s final overall record was 12-15.
In Charleston, the Cougars first opponent will be Greenbrier East, which defeated Ripley in its Regional title game. Nitro eliminated Hurricane in a Regional championship and Wheeling Park was the Region I champion.
Jefferson’s last state championship came in 2011 and this is the school’s first appearance back in the state event since then.
Beans had broken the game open. Davis had handcuffed the Bucs. And the entire lineup had produced 20 baserunners with only 31 team at-bats.