SHENANDOAH JUNCTION— Walks did it for Jefferson. Strikes and strikeouts from right-hander Blake Johnson defused Hampshire for the Jefferson defense and blunted the Trojans . . . leading the Cougars to the winner’s bracket with a 3-1 Sectional win in hand after Monday’s opening round game.
Johnson fanned eight and spaced the four free passes or hit batsman he allowed. Hampshire had one unearned run. Only three of the 21 outs the Cougars recorded were on balls to Jefferson outfielders. One of those outs came when Corey Mangold made a nice running catch in the seventh. The other out-of-the-ordinary play the Cougars had was when Johnson came all the way to home plate to snare a bunt popped high by Bucky Timbrook.
Johnson’s strikes and low-run effort were needed . . . because Jefferson had four singles off left-hander Josh Crawford. But it was Crawford’s intermittent walks or hit batsmen he offered that greatly aided in the few runs Jefferson managed.
Crawford struck out nine. And the Cougars only had 18 outs in their six turns.
Crawford walks to Mangold and Andrew King and his plunking Dennis Jackson with a 2-2 pitch were instrumental in Jefferson getting a 1-0 lead in the first. A passed ball scored Mangold.
Three of the four singles came in the third when King’s two-out, two-run single to center gave the Cougars a 3-1 lead for Johnson to protect. In that inning, Anthony DiAmario lined a hit to center and moved to second when Mangold drew his second walk. After a slow roller to third moved both runners up a base, Jackson fanned on Crawford’s most effective pitch, a curveball.
King’s single let both DiAmario and Mangold score.
And Johnson did the rest, not allowing any hits and only two baserunners in the last three innings.
Jefferson’s win gave it a day of rest and brought Hampshire back down from Romney to face Washington yesterday on Washington’s field. Another loss anytime in the tournament for the hit-hungry Trojans would eliminate them.
Washington will host Hampshire this afternoon (Wednesday) when the tournament continues.
And the Cougars will eventually go the Bruce Davidson Field with a 1-0 record because it used the low-hit pitching of Johnson to augment the four hits and five walks or hit batsmen it received.