SHENANDOAH JUNCTION— With seven hits and four runs in the first two innings of Saturday’s win-or-gone Sectional baseball game against unbeaten-in-the-tournament Washington, homestanding Jefferson grabbed the early lead . . . and turned the bright, baseball-weather afternoon into an 11-5 win.
In defeating the Patriots, Jefferson evened the Sectional series against its county rival at one game each and forced a championship game this Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at Bruce Davidson Field at Washington High.
After forging its 4-0 lead after just two innings against Washington starting pitcher Jared Silva, the Cougars literally survived their two errors and two passed balls in the next inning to eventually sting Silva and his replacement, Blake Wilt, for 14 hits, 21 baserunners, and 11 runs in once taking an 11-3 lead.
Jefferson starting pitcher Blake Johnson was never far from trouble, but he kept Washington scoreless in all but one of the six innings he went. From the time Johnson walked Colin Gustines to begin the sunny day, he never worked any up-and-down-in-order innings.
Johnson yielded five walks and was solved for five hits. But the Patriots stranded seven runners against him, including three at third base. Jefferson’s defense crumbled at times with a passed ball scoring one Patriot run and two errors in Washington’s only damaging inning helping the other two runs count.
The Cougars were only in front, 4-3, when they batted in the third.
After walks to Andrew King and Casey Billmyer moved the inning toward success, pinch-hitter Brandt Petrie struck out on a pitch that went to the backstop with King scoring.
From its still-troubled 5-3 lead, Jefferson extended its advantage to 9-3 in its next turn. Hits from Corey Mangold, Fraser Brown, and King were woven together with a passed ball, a hit batter and a catcher’s error to score another four runs.
Jefferson had scored at least once in its first four turns. It would score two more times in its fifth turn.
Three hits — Mangold, Brown, and Dennis Jackson had them — two outfield errors on one play, and some quality baserunning made Jefferson’s lead, 11-3.
Senior right-hander Cody Butts was given the seventh inning. He yielded a four-pitch walk to the first batter he saw and two hits as Washington added two runs.
Johnson had surrendered five hits, but his walks were harmful and his defense was fallible at times.
Brown went 4-for-4 and had three runs batted in. Mangold had three hits and scored four of Jefferson’s 11 runs. Jackson and King contributed two hits with King scoring twice.
Kendell Smith had three RBIs and two hits for the Patriots, who stranded eight runners in all.
Scoring in five consecutive at-bats to begin the game helped give Jefferson room for error. And its 14 hits and 21 baserunners stocked the shelves with 11 runs.