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After the first 10 Jefferson Forest batsmen were struck out on Friday night, there was one gigantic question looming: Uh, these are the defending Seminole champs?
When all was said and done, with the Cavs walking off their home turf with an 8-2 win over Glass, a different sentiment was noted: Ah, these are the defending Seminole champs!
That simple change in inflection was predicated upon a seven-run sixth inning, one that shows what this team is capable of doing.
Someone else showed he’s pretty capable, too. And he wasn’t wearing black and red.
E.C. Glass pitcher Nygeal Andrews came across as a giant slayer. It was he who whiffed the first ten Cav batsmen he faced.
Rumors that his infield was starting to nod off proved to be unfounded.
Still, you couldn’t blame them for getting a little drowsy. After all, it wasn’t until the fourth inning that the Cavs put a ball in play, and that was a meaningless pop-out.
Andrews carried a perfect game into the fifth inning. But, as JF Head Coach Jim Thacker noted after the game, “It’s a seven-inning game. Fortunately, it’s not a five-inning game.”
Thacker would likely have settled for a six-inning affair. That’s because his charges came to life in the sixth, turning a 2-1 deficit into an 8-2 advantage.
It all started when Cody Carr smacked a single to center field. He advanced on a sharp slap by Christian Sanderson, which Carr neatly avoided. The ball neatly avoided any Glass infield gloves, as well, landing JF with runners on first and second.
With Mark Heideman at the plate, Forest went with the hit and run. ‘Twas a thing of beauty. Carr and Sanderson took off like a pair of rockets. The ball flew off Heideman’s bat like similar pyrotechnics, heading off into left field.
The play was helped along by a Glass error and suddenly, JF had a 3-2 lead.
Andrews, who had thrown a bushel basket of pitches, was done. Alas, there would be no victory for the powerful junior, let alone a no-hitter or a perfect game.
For the JF rally was underway. Mikey Wallman punched a single to score Heideman. Antonio Fazio nailed a single to left. Jake Kliewer was hit by a pitch. Cal Hodgert earned a walk after fouling off three balls on a 3-2 count.
Then, Alex Bowker delivered the heartbreaker (for E.C. Glass fans, anyway). The big guy powdered a Parker Vukich offering to center field, bringing home three runs.
Bowker ate a pound of infield dirt sliding headfirst into third for a triple.
That was the end of the rally, but it was more than enough for the Cavs.
Kliewer pitched the last two innings to pick up the win. He followed Sanderson, who pitched one inning in relief of Kyle Goddard.
Forest was kept in the game to a great degree by Goddard, who settled down after yielding an unearned run in the first and watching his Glass counterpart overwhelm his teammates. “He pitched like a senior,” said Thacker. “He kept his composure.”
The win gives Forest a 1-0 record in Seminole play. The Cavs also stand 1-0 overall. “That was a good way to start the season,” said Thacker.
The Cavs had another wild game on Monday. They faced William Byrd, a team expected to vie for the Blue Ridge championship.
While Jefferson Forest won that one, 14-11, it should be noted that the Cavs bounced back from an 11-2 deficit.
Cal Hodgert was the big gun for Forest, bopping a home run and driving in five.
So, JF has had two games that have each been cardiac-inducing affairs.
What’s next? Stay tuned, folks.