Preparation goes well for Jefferson
After Jefferson defeated Musselman to win its Sectional title there was going to be a week before the Cougars would face Spring Mills in the Regional semifinal. A week off can dull a hitter’s timing, give a pitcher too much time between starts and mean a team can lose its late-season edge.
And so Jefferson Coach John Lowery hurriedly scheduled a game with East Hardy, another Sectional champion but from the Class A level, to play last Thursday in Shenandoah Junction.
Jefferson won the lose-the-rust attraction, 9-0, and got what it wanted from the game. Nearly every position player was inserted somewhere in the lineup as the game moved smartly along. Three pitchers got in some work, and they combined for a two-hitter and did not walk a single batter. And the hitters reached base 20 times in only six offensive turns.
The Cougars scored in five innings, culminated by a four-run fifth inning that nearly had the game ended by the 10-run mercy rule.
Lowery got to experiment some with his batting order and where he could place several of his players on defense when Springs Mills came in with its two-pronged pitching of Cody Hammond and Wyatt Stuckey.
For Jefferson and its ability to score runs, Charlie Barnholt had three RBIs, Cameron Alvarez reached base three times from his leadoff spot in the batting order and Austin Bulman, Paul Witt and Josh Colvin each had two of the 10 hits the Cougars managed off two front-line East Hardy pitchers.
Left-handers Bradley Davis and Austin Cross were kept pitching on three- or four-days of rest . . . and Barnholt showed a fastball with some mustard on it in getting the game’s last two outs.
The Cougars went to 31-2 with the win that counted as a regular season game on the Jefferson schedule.
Nobody was injured. There were nine runs. The opponents couldn’t score and could barely get anybody on base.
And it was one day closer to the expected pitcher-dominated game against Spring Mills.