DELPHOS — Jefferson’s baseballers had been putting up big offensive numbers in compiling a 3-1 opening-week record.
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.