ST. JAMES, Md. — Staying alive! Staying alive!
[cleeng_content id="180224737" description="Read it now!" price="0.15" t="article"]The 37th straight year was the most difficult.
With an error-filled, free pass-filled 13-8 win over St. James, the Jefferson High baseball team secured its 20th win of the season. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t purist baseball by any means. But the win kept in motion a long streak at the school known for its winning tradition and 10 state championships.
The streak kept intact with the victory over the Saints concerned 20-win seasons. And the Cougars moved the bar just a little higher and now have 37 straight years with at least 20 wins.
Jefferson’s record moving to the best-of-three Sectional tournament against in-county rival Washington was 20-11. The Saints had a 13-7 record with the loss to one of the few public schools they play.
St. James’ fielders were guilty of six errors. And their two pitchers walked six batters. There were four wild pitches, two of them allowing runners from third to score.
Jefferson committed two errors. Its three pitchers walked or hit a combined six men.
Leads came and quickly drifted away.
The Cougars held a 4-0 lead that disappeared in the time it took for starting pitcher A.J. Boyd to hit two batters, walk another and turn and watch Garrett Blank’s 370-foot double clear the bases in moving the score to 4-4.
Jefferson rallied for another four runs on Andrew King’s two-RBI double and Michael King’s double that also plated two runs.
Andrew King had been brought in to pitch with nobody out in the fourth. Because King throws mostly strikes he was on. Because all of King’s strikes were fastballs, he got tagged for six hits and four runs (but only two of the runs were earned).
King’s strikes were rewarded with him getting credit for the win.
Of the eight hits the Cougars managed, Andrew King had three and Andrew Grove had two. Both King and Grove drove in three runs.
Anthony DiAmario literally ran all over the bases. He scored three runs, stole two bases and twice came home when startled infielders with the baseball stood transfixed as he ran 80 feet to the plate while they unhurriedly assumed he wouldn’t try to score.
The years with at least 20 wins continued moving forward.
But just like the win over the Saints, this one didn’t come easy or without the distress caused by physical and mental errors and inglorious mistakes.