McKee grants Pats time to pass Cougars

CHARLES TOWN — The resolute 5.1 innings of relief pitching Washington received from Mark McKee gave the Patriots time to overcome what was once a six-run deficit. When a last-inning, three-run rally gave Washington a 9-8 win over the Cougars in the second game of the best-of-three Class AAA, Region II, Section 1 tournament, it was McKee’s four-hit relief pitching that overcame a seven-error game the Patriot defense presented.

[cleeng_content id="985294788" description="Read it now!" price="0.15" t="article"]The teams were even at one game each. And the weather-delayed, WESTEST-delayed series continued the next afternoon at Jefferson High.

Nearly a dozen physical errors, numerous mental errors, clumsy baserunning and a combined 11 walks or hit batters made the marathon three-hour game a thing of beauty only to Washington after it had overcome an 8-6 deficit in the seventh with three runs on four hits against Jefferson relievers Bradley Davis and Logan Maloney.

Ryan Mumaw, Blake Wilt, Bryan Bayliss and finally Hunter Weaver’s RBI single were Washington’s hits in its deciding last-inning rally.

There was only one earned run in all of Jefferson’s eight runs. The Cougars managed nine hits with six of them coming in a six-run second inning that had the Patriots trailing, 7-1.

Jefferson’s offense was helped by the six walks it received, the one hit batter, the combined five wild pitches or passed balls Washington was guilty of and the 22 baserunners it had.

Washington’s offense was helped by four walks, Jefferson’s four errors, its three stolen bases and the assorted 19 baserunners it managed against Jefferson starter A.J. Boyd and relievers Davis and Maloney.

Five of Washington’s nine runs were earned.

When McKee entered to replace starter Drew Hetzel, he was no mystery to the Cougars. He allowed an RBI single, walked the next man and yielded Chase Crockett’s two-RBI single with the bases loaded.

But a baserunning gaffe on Crockett’s hit ended the Jefferson second with the Cougars ahead, 7-1.

After his luckless start, McKee yielded only two singles in his last five innings. Somehow, he survived the four errors made behind him. Jefferson left at least one runner stranded in every inning against McKee.

Weaver had three hits and a three-RBI game. Seth Campbell had two RBIs. Colin Gustines was on base four times.

For Jefferson, Sean Spotts was on base four times, Michael King three times, Anthony DiAmario three times and Crockett three times.

The Cougars left two runners stranded in the first, fifth and sixth innings and left nine in all. In the fourth through the seventh, McKee had enough strikes that the never-ending string of errors behind him didn’t submerge his effort.

The last-inning rally covered all the warts, crows-feet, and blemishes associated with the first six innings.

Washington had lived to play another day.

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