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Cenate no-no leads Cougars

May 29, 1998|By SCOTT A. DEVORE / Staff Correspondent

by Joe Crocetta / staff photographer

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No hitter

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Once again, the Jefferson pitching staff put on a show-stopping performance when it counted.

--cont. from front page--

On Tuesday, it was sophomore Jimmy Rhodes. Thursday night, it was junior Josh Cenate, who threw a no-hitter - and nearly a perfect game - as the Jefferson Cougars defeated Fairmont Senior (22-8) 10-0 to win the West Virginia Class AAA Region II championship for the second year in a row.

Cenate (9-2) allowed only one base runner, a hit batter in the bottom of the first which would later erase on a double play. Cenate collected eight strikeouts in five innings and faced the minimum 15 batters in the five-inning game.

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"(Josh) did a good job, he had good control, had a couple of nice defensive plays against him and we hit the ball well," Jefferson coach John Lowery said. "You hope to get that in a tournament-type situation. We need to play at a high level here and now on out, and I felt that we played at a high level tonight."

While Cenate was keeping runners off the bases, the Jefferson offense was putting runners on. Jefferson (26-4) led 5-0 after four innings and scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth, as seven consecutive base runners reached on six hits to stop the game early by the 10-run rule.

Justin Osbourn and B.J. Mercer reached base on back to back singles. Eric Smoot pinch hit and doubled to score Osbourn and Mercer. Fernandez Wilkes and Jason Dailey hit back-to-back RBI singles which made it 9-0. Jimmy Rhodes reached base on a walk and Desmond Williams had the game-closing RBI, singling in pinch runner John Green for the final run.

"I felt that I needed a hit because I hadn't had one all night," leadoff hitter Williams said. "I knew I could hit the ball."

Mercer was 3-for-3 with two RBIs and Dylan Hetzel and Osbourn had two hits and scored two runs each in the Cougars' 12-hit attack.

"There are a lot of things going on with exams and senior graduation coming up. We need to prioritize and keep focus. I want them to focus on exams as well as have good practices," Lowery said. "It was nice to win the regional, but we still have two more games that we need to win.

"It's good to go back to Charleston."

Jefferson will face Ripley next Thursday at 11 a.m. in Charleston, W.Va. in the state semifinals. Ripley defeated Jefferson 2-1 last year for the state championship.

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