SHENANDOAH JUNCTION — The stinging cold, a pitch count for Musselman’s starting pitcher, and a 3-for-4 afternoon for Kyle Boone were the most important remnants when Jefferson had closed out an 11-4 win over Musselman last week.
Normally windy Sager Field was raked by the constant blows of a 15-to-20 mile an hour wind that made the 32-degree temperature ripe for no players this side of International Falls, Minnesota. Musselman starting pitcher, Chris Schleuss left with a 3-2 lead and a three-hitter after four innings. Jefferson mauled his replacement, Matthew Parker, for nine runs and seven hits in just two innings. Parker allowed 11 of the 16 batters he faced to reach base.
Boone, a Jefferson senior listed only as a catcher, played left field and enhanced his chances of doing it again when he had three RBIs, five total bases, and one of the three hits allowed by Schleuss.
The Cougars were close to Schleuss only because freshman left-hander Bradley Davis evaded much of the trouble caused him by his fielders, who had five of the six errors they committed while he was on. The sixth error came when reliever Logan Maloney, the Cougars’ winning pitcher, worked his 2.1 innings.
Davis and Maloney combined to fan 11 Applemen batters, getting at least one strikeout in every inning.
It was finding ways to get the other 10 outs that puzzled the Jefferson defense and jeopardized the day with the six errors.
Davis ended Musselman scoring threats in the first two innings with strikeouts. But two errors — one committed by Davis — helped Schleuss take a 1-0 lead to the mound in the third. The Applemen had no hits through three, yet had stranded seven runners.
Matt Henshaw had Jefferson’s first hit, a double, that led to a two-run inning. Garret Everton drove in one of the runs.
The lead proved short-lived when Davis allowed his first hits in the fifth and a three-base error in center field had Musselman back on top at 3-2. Maloney fanned Denver Luttrell to end the fifth.
Schleuss was replaced. Parker entered.
Hits from Boone, Kalen Nehler, and Brandt Petrie and two other baserunners gave the Cougars four runs and a 6-3 lead.
Parker was again no problem in the sixth. Four more hits (Everton’s slow roller, Andrew Grove’s RBI single, Nehler run-producing single, and Boone’s two-RBI triple) and two other baserunners produced a five-run frame and lifted Jefferson’s lead to 11-3.
Jefferson’s sixth error fueled a one-run seventh for the Applemen and gave them the opportunity to leave their 12th runner on base when Maverick Keller grounded out with the bases loaded to end it.
Cold. Cold. Cold.
But a win to halt Jefferson’s two-game losing skid and give it a 3-2 record to take to another numbing March evening.