A dozen down: Cougars jump out to 12-0 start
SHEPHERDSTOWN — As per usual in the last calendar year, the unknowns have outnumbered the knowns.
Postponements, cancellations, weather-related changes and, of course, the plague of the coronavirus pandemic.
Per usual. The new world of changing athletic schedules has almost become commonplace.
It seems no team and no sport have been immune from the perpetual changes.
Bothersome as the murky present and future have been, Jefferson High School’s baseball team has been able to jump the mud puddles, keep warm enough against the elements at night and win its first dozen games of the season.
Even with a reduced schedule and games being cancelled, the usually hit-happy Cougars have stayed above the crowd and moved on ahead to a 12-0 record in games through last Saturday.
Beginning on Monday, the Cougars had games this week scheduled for three dates before traveling to Bridgeport on Saturday for a doubleheader against the six-time defending Class AA state champions. The Indians have been elevated to Class AAA this season.
Cullen Horowicz and company often won by “mercy run” scores in the first part of the schedule. Lately, there have been closer games with a 3-2 win over Southern of Garrett County, Md. and a 12-10 edging of Musselman.
Cullen Horowicz has been on a home run tear almost from the beginning of the season, even showing times when he delivered two homers in a game. He has an extraordinary on-base percentage.
At the top of the batting order, Peyton Corwine and Connor Bailey have been showing their ability to get on base, steal bases and then score runs.
Regan Allinger has provided RBIs at a rate that has made him a reliable force when he hits with men on base. With Griffin Horowicz, Zac Rose, Kamien Gonzalez, Sammy Roberts and Riley Vadasz as other troublemakers for opponents, Jefferson’s run production has rarely been held in check.
In 12 games, the Cougars had scored 138 runs . . . or 11.5 runs per winning outing. No fewer than six of the wins were stopped by the “ten-run” or “mercy rule.”
Only Musselman managed to do much scoring damage against Jefferson’s pitchers. Already, there have been four shutouts against the dozen opponents.
Rose, Daquon Shipe, Vadasz, Gonzalez and Roberts have pitched the majority of the team’s innings. Shipe and Vadasz have eased the burden on the defense with the high number of strikeouts per innings pitched they have authored.
Besides the probable unforeseen road blocks brought out by the virus, Bridgeport and the weather, Jefferson’s other problems could come from highly regarded Morgantown, Frankfort and area rivals Martinsburg and Hedgesville.
The Cougars tamed both Martinsburg and Hedgesville by mercy rule scores the first time they saw both opponents.
Isaiah Morris, Kellen Kinsler, Mason LaFollette, Will Ricketts, Mark Smith, Sam Wabnitz, Jordan Biggs and Matthew Vickers could all figure more prominently in future games than they have so far. All of those players have either contributed in their reserve roles or in their few starts. Wabnitz is just joining the team and could be a pitcher to get some late-season innings.
The Cougars have wins over Sectional rivals Washington and Hampshire and Regional foes Martinsburg, Hedgesville, Musselman and Spring Mills (twice).
Further changes can be expected. Further problems with the virus might arise. But even with what has already been thrown into the works, Jefferson has been able to maintain an unbeaten course to date.