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The Jefferson Forest baseball team seems to have figured out one key thing: What matters is how good you are at the end of the season.
And, it would seem, the lads are taking that knowledge to heart. They wrapped up their regular season with wins over their big county rival and over the best team in the Seminole.
The Cavs took care of Liberty, 5-1, before wrapping up things with a stunning 4-2 victory over the behemoth which is Amherst.
Indiana Hall and the Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones has his bullwhip.
Indiana Hall has his whip-like fastball.
Hall, the Jefferson Forest hurler, was at near-peak efficiency, leading his Cavs to a 5-1 win over homestanding Liberty last Wednesday.
Hall was ably assisted by his mates with the gloves (only one error) and the bats.
All the runs he needed were earned in the first on back-to-back doubles by Christian Bourne and Sean Burch and Camdyn Smith's RBI single.
Taylor Bell scored when he dashed home from third when the Minutemen tried to nail Bourne's steal attempt of second base.
The insurance runs came in the fourth when Tyler Lucy hit a beaut of a double to bring home Bell and Bourne.
But Liberty showed some life at the plate and threatened to draw even with the Cavs in the fifth inning.
During that stanza, Liberty loaded the bases when Hunter Byers was plunked by a Hall offering, Nelson Carroll drilled a single to right and Hunter Witt walked.
With two outs, Josh Whalen drew a walk to bring home a run. Up stepped Dylan Oleson, the mightiest of the Liberty batsmen. Oleson launched a rocket to left field which was just short of fuel. It came down to rest in Burch's glove, about three feet shy of the wall.
The Bourne Identity
It is common knowledge that any kind of playoff run begins with pitching.
Add Christian Bourne's name to a rotation which includes the likes of Hall and Lucy.
Bourne showed his stuff as the Cavs terminated any aspirations Amherst had of a perfect season.
He also avenged a 1-0 loss his team suffered earlier in the season at Amherst. Most impressive of all: Bourne limited the hard-hitting Lancers to a total of five hits. Sorry, folks, that's just not something that happens very often.
"We were effective in all three aspects of the game," said JF Head Coach Ryan Gilleland. "We hit in the clutch, got a great effort on the mound from Christian, and we made a few errors on defense but we also made several nice plays to make up for the mistakes."
Indeed, the Cavs had a quartet of errors. But, it is a sign of a playoff-ready team if it can avoid letting those mistakes affect it, either on the scoreboard or in the head.
The Cavs also displayed hustle and opportunism, piecing together their runs as they only posted five hits for the game.
Zach LeMaster showed that he had LeMastery of Amherst starter Jason Thacker, mashing a pair of hits off of him.
"Hopefully that gets us going in the right direction for the playoffs," said Gilleland. "It should at least give us confidence that we can compete with anyone."