Pansch cages Cougars with 14 strikeouts

Ryan Pansch struck out 14 as Washington High moved to the top of the Class AAA, Region II, Section 1 regular season standings with a comfortable 9-0 blanking of intracounty rival Jefferson High.

The Patriots were 2-0 in Sectional games and 6-7 overall. Jefferson was 1-1 (8-4 overall) in the Section and Hampshire was 0-2. It was the second consecutive game the Cougars had suffered a shutout loss.

Austin Larcomb swings at a high pitch in Washington’s 9-0 win over Jefferson. The catcher is Matt Henshaw.

Pansch was most of the game’s story and controlled the outcome with his fastball, which he used about 85 percent of the time. He started his strikeout binge right away by fanning two of the first three batters he saw. He found at least one Jefferson strikeout victim in every inning and struck out the side in the sixth.

The Cougars managed five base-runners in all. They had singles from Casey Billmyer and Fraser Brown, coaxed two walks off Pansch and had a runner reach base on an early infield error.

The Patriots were the recipients of no fewer than seven walks, had three hits off Jefferson starter Blake Johnson and four hits (including back-to-back triples by Kendell Smith and Colin Gustines) off reliever Logan Maloney in his 2.1 innings, and were helped immensely by six Jefferson errors.

Pansch only needed one run. And he got that run in the second when Caleb Dan had a single, rode into to second on a passed ball, and was counted when Drew Hetzel singled on the ground into right.

Jefferson’s one marginal chance to score came in the second when Billmyer had a line drive hit and Cody Butts walked with two out. Pansch fanned Matt Henshaw, who took three straight fastballs for strikes.

Jefferson had only two more baserunners in the final five innings as Pansch fanned 10 of the 17 men he saw in those innings.

Leading 2-0, Washington frosted the game when it used Smith’s RBI single, the last of Johnson’s six walks in his 3.2 innings, and three Jefferson errors to get another three runs to move the lead to 5-0.

Washington’s last four runs came as the result of hits from Hetzel, Pansch, Smith, and Gustines.

Regardless of what Washington was accomplishing against Johnson and Maloney, it was Pansch who kept plowing under the Jefferson batters with his fastball and control.

Fourteen strikeouts. Only seven outs gotten from groundouts, pop flies, or flyballs. It was little wonder Washington had only one error.

Both teams had a game the next afternoon before traveling to Myrtle Beach for weeklong tournaments beginning on Monday, April 9.

The game has started 24 minutes late because one umpire hadn’t made his appearance. But once it started, Pansch moved it along as the large crowd tried to ward off the cold and wind as best they could.

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