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Cougars down Bridgeport, split with Grace

By Staff | May 4, 2018

An unearned run in the eighth inning got Jefferson past four-time Class AAA defending state champion Bridgeport, 3-2, last Friday in Shenandoah Junction. With Taylor Tennant notching six shutout innings against the Indians, the Cougars clung to a 2-0 lead moving to the top of the seventh.

Bridgeport shoved across two unearned runs in its half of the seventh. The Cougars couldn’t score in the bottom of the inning and the game went into extra innings.

Tennant had left, with Jordan Trunnell replacing him to begin the eighth. After hitting a batter, Trunnell gave way to Cameron Winston, who got out of the inning unscathed. Winston instantly became the winning pitcher when the Cougars pushed across the game-deciding run in their turn.

The Cougars extended their record to 16-8 and Bridgeport went to 14-4.

After spirited back-to-back victories over Washington and Bridgeport, the Cougars had a doubleheader against Grace Academy of Hagerstown on Saturday. The Knights had a 9-3 record.

In the opener, with Jordan Trunnell pitching, Jefferson had a six-run second inning and a three-run fourth to assume a 9-1 lead.

Jefferson’s defense began to unravel in the fourth, as the Cougars committed four errors, and Trunnell was removed after two batters in the fifth, taking a 9-3 lead with him to the sidelines.

As the Knights brought 15 batters to the plate in the combined fifth and sixth innings, they scored another four runs, combing Jefferson pitching for five hits and two walks, while being aided by another three errors to get within two runs (at 9-7) of the quickly fading lead.

Jefferson couldn’t score again with its five reserves in the game, and Grace had one final chance going to the seventh.

After two outs were recorded, Todd Stocks and Brady Bakner both had singles to put the tying run at first. With a 2-2 count on Riley Jackson, the Grace third baseman chased a neck-high straightball, struck out to end it at 9-7 and left Grace two runs back despite counting the game’s last six runs.

Taylor Tennant had three of Jefferson’s eight hits in the scrambled opener, where Grace’s two pitchers yielded five walks, hit two batters and had two errors made behind them.

David Dinges was Jefferson’s starting pitcher in the second game. He departed in the second after seeing 10 batters and retiring four of them. Winston replaced him and Jefferson led, 4-3, after four innings. Grace had left the bases loaded in the first and had stranded eight runners through four innings.

Daniel Brennan gave Jefferson a 5-3 lead when he walked after two out in the fifth. Brennan stole second, stole third and scored on a wild pitch. But Winston wouldn’t survive the fifth.

After fanning the first man in the fatal inning, he was victimized when a foul fly was dropped in right and the same man was safe at first on an infield throwing error. A single by Jacob Miller was followed by Winston hitting D’Andre Eby with a pitch. When Stocks rammed a two-run double to left-center, Grace was back even at 5-5.

Cullen Horowicz replaced Winston, and Bakner got the go-ahead run home with his sacrifice fly. Horowicz quickly issued back-to-back walks to load the bases, but Bradley Summers flew out to keep the damage down. Grace had left 11 runners on base through five innings, and still had a one-run lead.

The only problem Jackson had with the Jefferson offense in the final two innings was dodging an error by his shortstop. The Cougars went out in order in the seventh, falling short by a run at 6-5. Daly had two Jefferson hits, as did Dylan McCartney, who also landed two hits in the opener.

Jefferson began another game-heavy week this past Monday when it visited Spring Mills, to be followed by a home game versus Woodgrove on Wednesday and seeing Hampshire come to Sager Field on Friday. The Cougars travel to Cumberland to face Pendleton County on Saturday.