|Rice, timely hits pace Jeffcats over Crestview|
|Tuesday, May 06, 2014 8:13 PM|
Times Bulletin Sports Editor
DELPHOS - Crestview left-hander Damian Helm was in control through two innings as the Knights took on Jefferson in a Northwest Conference baseball game at Wildcat Field Monday evening.
Things unraveled in the third, however, and the Wildcats scored three times in the third en route to a 5-2 win.
Jefferson moves to 4-3 in conference play, while the Knights fall to 4-2 in the NWC.
“We competed at a high level and we had guys step up and make plays,” said Jefferson coach Doug Geary. “We had six hits but we had a couple of clutch hits when it counted. The kids were focused and they were ready to play. It’s a nice time to peak right around tournament time. Hopefully we can add on to this as we play this week.”
After Helm had struck out the side in order in the second, Jefferson came to bat in the third trailing 1-0. A 4-pitch walk to Josh Teman opened the inning. A 1-out single by Hunter Binkley put runners at the corners for senior third baseman Ross Thompson. He lofted a pop-up to shallow right field but neither the Crestview outfielder, nor second baseman could get to it in time and a run came home. The next batter, Austin Jettinghoff, then turned in one of the great at-bats of the season.
After falling behind 0-2, he fouled off six pitches and eventually got the count to full before hitting a slow chopper to shortstop on the 12th pitch of the at-bat. Crestview’s Bryce Richardson charged the ball with the intent of coming to the plate but couldn’t come up with it cleanly and the Wildcats took their first lead of the game.
They added on one batter later when designated hitter Jordan Herron lined a single through the right side, plating Thompson.. Helm settled down to retire the next two hitters to escape the inning but the long frame took its toll. Helm threw 33 pitches in the inning.
“When you’re going against a good pitcher, regardless of how good he is, you want to get his pitch count up,” Geary explained. “(Jettinghoff) competed at a high level (in that at-bat) and ended up putting the ball in play and we added another run.”
The Knights used a 2-out rally in the fourth to stay close.
Jefferson hurler Tyler Rice sat down the first two batters of the inning but a soft liner up the middle by Justin Overmyer gave the Knights a base-runner. Overmyer moved into scoring position on a wild pitch and Brock Rolsten’s single to left brought him home ahead of Binkley’sthrow.
In the fifth, the Jeffcats re-built their lead. Helm retired Thompson and Jettinghoff on fly balls before Herron kept the inning alive with a ground ball wide of first. Pinch-hitter Kurt Wollenhaupt then battled to a full count and worked a 6-pitch walk to bring up first baseman Gage Mercer. With Helm’s pitch count rising, Crestview coach Jim Wharton made a trip to the mound to check on his senior. Helm stayed in the game but Mercer turned on the first pitch of the at bat and drove a deep fly ball to left that cleared the glove of Mitchell Rickard and landed safely on the warning track, allowing both runners to come around to score.
With the Jeffcats now leading 5-2, Helm’s day on the mound was over.
After Rice worked through the sixth for the Wildcats, Thompson took the hill in the seventh, protecting a 3-run cushion. He gave up a leadoff single to Helm but struck out Jordan Roop before getting Nate Owens to fly out and Jordan Miller on a pop-up to close the game.
“We have a ways to go; we still do,” said Wharton after the game. “We have to get more intense, we have to get more hungry. Right now, we’re not hungry enough and Jefferson was.”
Crestview took the lead in the opening inning when Cam Etzler singled and stole second before eventually scoring on Roop’s sacrifice fly to center. The Knights had scoring chances in the fifth and sixth but heads-up defense by the Wildcats kept Crestview off the board in each inning.
In the fifth, a 1-out error put a runner at second but a ground ball to short followed and Jace Stockwell alertly threw to Thompson at third to cut down the lead runner.
An inning later, Crestview had runners at second and third with only one out when Rolsten hit a grounder down the third-base line that Thompson fielded well behind the bag. With no play at first, Thompson threw home and caught Colby Clifton trying to score. Jefferson wound up escaping a bases-loaded situation later in the inning.
“Rice pitched well but what we did behind him was the key,” Geary added. “We made some plays. Ross’s play there in the sixth might have been the only play he had. That’s an exceptional play, a play you don’t see very often in high school baseball.”
Score by Innings:
Crestview 100 100 0- 2 7 2
Jefferson 003 020 x- 5 6 1
Etzler cf-p 4-1-2-0, Richardson ss 3-0-0-0. Helm p-1b 4-0-1-0, x- Lippi pr 0-0-0-0, Roop 1b-rf 3-0-1-1, Owens c 4-0-0-0, Miller 3b 4-0-0-0,Rickard 2-0-0-0, x- Clifton cf 1-0-1-0, Overmyer rf-lf 3-1-2-0, Rolsten 2b 3-0-2-1.
Stockwell ss 4-0-2-0, Binkley lf-3b 4-1-1-0, Thompson 3b-p 3-1-1-1, Jettinghoff 2b 2-0-0-1, Herron dh 3-1-2-1, x- Dudgeon pr 0-0-0-0, Rice p 2-0-0-0, x- Wallenhaupt ph 0-1-0-0, Mercer 1b 3-0-1-2, Bullinger rf 3-0-0-0, Teman cf 2-1-0-0.
SB- Etzler, Helm, Stockwell, Binkley, Thompson. 2B- Overmyer, Mercer
Helm (L) 4.2 IP 6 H 5 R 4 ER 2 BB 6 K
Etzler 1.1 IP 0 H 0 R 0 ER 0 BB 1 K
Rice (W) 6.0 IP 6 H 2 R 2 ER 1 BB 2 K
Thompson (Sv) 1.0 IP 1 H o R 0 ER 0 BB 1 K
WP- Rice, Thompson.