Rose, Walsh give Jefferson some pitching experience
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Wet grounds, a steady rain, numbing nightime temperatures and a weather prediction that says be ready for falling weather are all causes for baseball games to be postponed or even cancelled.
Now comes the coronavirus spreading out of China, and no team has a tarpaulin or wind screens or a chemist’s brand of a gritty substance that can prevent it from wreaking havoc with the 2020 baseball seasons of area high schools.
Jefferson was scheduled to begin its season on March 21 with an early-season, doubleheader headliner at Sherando in Stephens City, Va.
The coronavirus is already off to 1-0 start to its season.
John Lowery, Jefferson’s only head coach since the consolidated high school had its first season in 1973, has no defense or pitching workhorse to send out against the coronavirus.
What he does have are pitchers James Walsh and Zac Rose, both experienced moundsmen. Walsh, a senior right-hander, will be in his fourth season with the varsity and Rose, now a junior, will be in Lowery’s rotation for the third straight year.
Rose plays first base when not on the mound. Chase Anderson is the likely second baseman here in his senior year. Kamien Gonzalez, now a junior, was used often as the starting shortstop a year ago. Cullen Horowicz has been a Jefferson regular since his freshman season in 2018. He’s now a junior and could be used at several positions after being employed at third base for two seasons.
Outfielders Hayden Stang and Mason Lantz, both seniors, will add more experience to Lowery’s mostly unproven batting order. Stevie Lee was a 2019 starter in the outfield. Lee, Rose and Stang are left-handed batters.
A possible plus in the Jefferson lineup is transfer Riley Vadasz, a junior who comes in from Tampa, Fla. Vadasz is likely to be in the infield or on the mound if in the 2020 lineup.
Lowery will need some hitting and on-base production from players like Will Ricketts, Ryan Allinger and Mason LaFollette if the Cougars are to displace Hedgesville as this area’s Class AAA Region winner. The other two teams in Jefferson’s Class AAA Section are Washington and Hampshire. Martinsburg, Musselman and Spring Mills are joined with Hedgesville in this area’s other Class AAA Sectional.
Jefferson has now won at least 20 games in 43 straight seasons, beginning in 1977. The last of the school’s 12 big-school state championships came back in 2016.
Other than Walsh and Rose, the Cougars need to find effective pitchers because the schedule is full of weeks where there are five games in five days and more road games than the team usually has. Even the coronavirus would have trouble beating pitchers who don’t walk many, use an economy of pitches and get their strikeouts.