|Wildcats score late, sink Blue Jays|
|Friday, April 05, 2013 11:32 AM|
They didn’t do so on a brilliant Thursday before a nice crowd against cross-town rival St. John’s in the Playing Hardball Against ALS (PHAALS) contest held at Wildcat Field.
They didn’t need to as seniors Drew Kortokrax and Zach Ricker combined for a 2-hitter and the ’Cats scored a late run to nab a 3-2 victory.
“This was the first close game we’ve had since our scrimmages; every other game had been won or lost relatively easily,” Jefferson head coach Doug Geary said. “We had to find a different way to win the game. We came up with some big hits. We had our number-9 hitter (Gage Townsend-Schleeter) come up with a sacrifice that helped us score our first run and a big RBI to score the second. This was a great game — we had a warm day with a big crowd against a rival — that gets you ready for the Northwest Conference opener Thursday; every play was significant.”
Tied at 2-2 entering the top of the seventh, the Wildcats, the visitors this day, got a leadoff walk to Austin Jettinghoff by St. John’s senior starter Troy Warnecke (0-1; 6-plus innings, 6 hits, 3 runs, 1 earned, 5 bases-on-balls, 7 strikeouts; 106 pitches, 67 strikes) and Zach Kimmett barely missed a home run to deep left, hitting off the fence for a double and finishing Warnecke’s stint on the mound. Kortokrax greeted lefty reliever Drew Wagner with a fly ball deep enough to center to plate Jettinghoff and move Kimmett to third. Wagner fanned the next two to get out of the inning only down 3-2.
“I probably should have taken Troy out at the start of the inning — we were talking about it between innings — but he earned the benefit of the doubt with how well he pitched,” St. John’s first-year coach Ryan Warnecke explained. “He kept us in the game. We knew Jefferson could hit the ball and they did; we just couldn’t match them, which we knew we had to.”
In the bottom half, Ricker (1-0; 2 IPs, 1 hit, 1 unearned run, 3 Ks) hit Ben Wrasman with one down. A wild pitch and an error on the sequence allowed Wrasman to slide into third. However, Ricker put something extra on as he retired the next two via a called third strike and a groundout to end the contest.
The Wildcats loaded the bases in the top of the first on a 1-out double to deep center by Ricker and 2-out free passes to Kimmett and Kortokrax but could not score.
The Red and White got up 1-0 in the second. Zavier Buzard walked to lead it off and an error on Jordan herron’s grounder allowed both runners to stay aboard. Gage Townsend-Schleeter bunted both up a base and Ross Thompson (2-for-4) ripped a line shot up the middle to get Buzard home and put runners on the corners.
However, two pop-ups kept the damage at 1-0.
The Blue and Gold got a 2-out free pass to Geise in the third and he stole the next two bases but the Jays couldn’t get him in.
The Wildcats went up 2-0 in the fourth. Buzard got on courtesy of an error and scored an out hence as Townsend-Schleeter crushed a 2-bagger to left. Ricker walked with two outs but both runners remained on base.
Kortokrax slashed a 1-out double to the base of the fence in right in the fifth but got no farther.
The Jays slashed their deficit in half in the home half. Clay Courtney got on courtesy of an error and Craig Klausing walked. An out later, both advanced on Ben Wrasman’s nibbler and, with Geise at the plate, a wild pitch scored Courtney. Geise walked but Kortokrax registered his eighth and final K to get out of the frame.
St. John’s tied it in the bottom half against Ricker. With one down, Ryan Buescher was safe on a fielding error and moved up on a wild pitch. An out hence, Courtney blooped a hit into short left and Courtney, running all the way, scored when the ball wasn’t fielded cleanly to knot the score at 2-2. Klausing’s fielder’s choice ended the inning.
“That’s the Drew we saw at the end of his sophomore year. He missed last spring with an injury,” Geary added. “He pitched 87 pitches against Van Wert but didn’t have the same velocity or control that he had today; it was back. We didn’t want him to go over 90 pitches today. Zach gave is outstanding relief today; he really put something extra on his pitches after he hit Wrasman.”
“Kortokrax is one heck of a pitcher; we haven’t faced anyone this year with that kind of heat and we really got nothing going against him,” he added. “We’re not used to seeing live pitching; we’ve been facing coach-pitch, so we’re catching up. I think we’ll start turning that around as we get more at-bats. We made a couple mistakes fielding the ball that hurt us and that has been a strength for us so far this year.”
Both teams return with doubleheader action Saturday: St. John’s playing Antwerp and Lincolnview at Lincolnview starting at 11 a.m. and Jefferson hosting Parkway for a noon twin-bill.
|Last Updated on Friday, April 05, 2013 11:35 AM|