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Jefferson holds out for a hero

Holmes hits, pitches Cougars past Goretti

Holmes hits, pitches Cougars past Goretti

April 18, 2002|BY DAN SPEARS

dans@herald-mail.com

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - The Jefferson baseball team desperately needed a lift Wednesday night against St. Maria Goretti. And if it came with a solid pitching arm, well ... that would be just great.

Juwaan Holmes provided both, and used his bat to drive the point home.

The junior threw 3 2/3 hitless innings of relief against the Gaels, then knocked in the winning run with a bases-loaded flare in the bottom of the fifth as the No. 2 Cougars won 4-3 to break a two-game losing streak.

"Coach (John Lowery) told me last night that I was going to be the first (reliever) into the game tonight," said Holmes, who struck out three and walked two to get the win. "It's only my second appearance this year, so I went home last night and iced my arm. I figured I should be ready at any time out there."

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Holmes didn't don a red cape and become Superman, but he turned in a heroic effort for Jefferson (16-6, 4-2 Apple Valley League), which avoided a season sweep by the Gaels (6-6, 3-3), who are led by former Cougars star Jon Sechler.

"We held them to one run and four runs. Our pitching ... you can never fault those guys," Sechler said of Wednesday's starter, Josh Carter, and Monday's winner, Nick Adenhart. "We've just gotta string some hits together."

Jefferson took this one, though, by putting its non-hits all in a row.

Tied 3-3 with one out in the bottom of the fifth, Carter walked Denny Hartlove and Brian McLaughlin and Matt Noll hit a grounder toward third. Goretti's P.J. Donoghue knocked the ball down and appeared to tag Hartlove on his way to third base. But the umpire ruled Hartlove safe, filling the bases for Holmes.

Holmes looped a 2-2 pitch into right-center field, and Goretti's Tim Kellinger made a spectacular diving play on the ball. But it popped out of his glove, and Hartlove raced home with the winning run.

"I fouled off the one pitch I wanted, and coach just said to put in play," Holmes said. "I kinda poked at it. It didn't get down as fast as I was hoping, but it got in there."

Holmes kept it 4-3 in the sixth. With the tying run on third and two outs, he got Mason Herman - whose two-run single in the fourth knocked out Jefferson starter Steve Kozak - to ground to shortstop to end the threat.

"There was a lot of pressure tonight," Holmes said. "We're heading down to some tough games this weekend and we didn't want to have a shot at coming back with a 4- or 5-game losing streak. It was big to get a win here."

No. 2 Jefferson 4, Goretti 3

Goretti 1002000-342

Jefferson 200110x-471

Carter and Staubs. Kozak, Holmes (4) and Noll. WP-Holmes (1-0). LP-Carter (2-1).

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