Several pitchers dominate Sectional baseball event
It turned out pitching was 100 percent of the local Class AAA Sectional baseball tournament when Jefferson and Washington met.
It took 10 innings to decide the first game between the two keen rivals. Taylor Tennant handled the Washington lineup for the Cougars, and Nathan Kerr and Spencer Delawder controlled the Jefferson batters.
Washington would win, 5-3, in 10 innings, to get immediate control of the double elimination tournament. The game’s length meant Taylor, Kerr and Delawder threw so many pitches that none of the three was eligible to pitch again until the Monday after the event, which ended Saturday.
After Jefferson remained alive the next evening by edging Hampshire by a run, the two county schools played again Friday night.
Washington didn’t have Kerr or Delawder eligible to pitch and tried Sage Meiling, a sophomore left-hander. Jefferson had multiple-game winner James Walsh as its tested pitcher.
Walsh had strikes in his quiver. Meiling didn’t.
It was a distinct mismatch of pitchers. Jefferson took full advantage of its strike-throwing right-hander to defeat the Patriots, 10-0, in a mercy-rule ending that would bring the teams back to Sager Field on Saturday for another game to be controlled by the pitcher with some experience- Washington’s Zach Depoy.
Walsh allowed only one hit to the Patriots in the six innings it took to get enough runs to end the game on the mercy rule. He didn’t walk or hit any batters, and he faced only two men over the minimum-seeing 20 faces and getting 18 outs.
Jefferson had three runs and one hit, so frequent were the early-game walks it coaxed and the infield errors the Patriots committed.
Meiling walked the first two men he faced, and he hit the next one to load the bases. When Cory Roman drew still another free pass, Jefferson had a 1-0 lead and Meiling was walking toward the third-base dugout, being replaced by Adam Link. Link covered much of the would-be damage by getting out of the inning trailing only 2-0.
Three infield errors helped the Cougars to another run in the third, and a five-hit fourth inning off Link had the Cougars winging along with an 8-0 cushion of a lead.
Hits from David Dinges, Zac Rose, Taylor Tennant, Stevie Lee and Chase Anderson had broken the game apart.
Two more walks fueled Jefferson’s ninth run, and the game ended in the sixth, when Lee scored all the way from second when Daniel Brennan stayed in a rundown between first and second long enough to have Lee scamper home.
Saturday was the exact same scenario, except the pitching arms had traded teams.
Depoy, with a 3-1 record, pitched for Washington. Rose, a left-handed freshman, was Jefferson’s choice from a group of little-used, little-successful pitchers on its roster. Washington would win, 15-4, with the mercy rule being invoked again.
Rose got his first two pitches over for strikes. But his next four pitches weren’t in the strike zone. The count on leadoff batter Link had gone from 0-2 to 4-2, and first base was occupied. Rose hit the next man, and when his first pitch to Delawder was a ball he was quickly replaced by Dinges.
Dinges hit Delawder and Cameron Pine delivered a three-run double and later scored himself for a 4-0 Washington lead after one inning.
Washington batted 10 men in the second, scoring another four runs against Isaac Carroll, who had replaced Dinges with two outs in the fatal first inning. Pine would hit another three-run double against sophomore Zach Stoner in the six-run sixth.
Washington had moved to a 13-run lead.
Delawder had joined Pine as the Patriot offensive leaders. He batted five times, getting three hits, getting hit twice by pitches and scoring four of Washington’s many runs. He also replaced Depoy to get the game’s final out, after the Cougars scored twice in the sixth.
Washington faces Martinsburg for the Regional championship and a spot in the state tournament. Jefferson completed its season with a 22-14 overall record.
Pitching took seats in opposite dugouts Friday and Saturday, and the mercy rule reared its ugly head on both occasions.