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Cougars use quick flurry to say 'S-no way' to Gaels

March 18, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Nothing like a below-freezing, flurry-filled, mid-March weeknight to open a high school baseball season.

Jefferson pushed a run across in the first inning and three Cougars pitchers shut down St. Maria Goretti for a 1-0 victory in which the only things colder than the weather were both teams' bats.

"These guys are lucky to have aluminum bats," Gaels coach Mike Brashears said. "If they had woods bats like when I played, we'd have a lot of firewood right now."

Jefferson starter Mike Myers (1-0) allowed three hits and a walk while striking out five in four innings to earn the win. Jordan Diehl threw 2 1/3 innings of one-hit ball with three strikeouts, and Kylee Griffith got the final two outs for the save.

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"You would think pitchers would get tight in weather like this," Cougars coach John Lowery said. "They say pitchers are ahead of the hitters early in the season, and I guess it showed tonight."

"It was a tough night (offensively) both ways," Brashears said. "Both starters pitched really well, and all three of their guys pitched well."

Sean Engle (0-1) allowed five hits and five walks while fanning seven in five innings of work for Goretti.

Engle walked three of the first four batters he faced, leading to Gage Levac's sacrifice fly which scored Will Grantham with the game's only run. But he also escaped jams in the second, third and fifth innings and stranded nine Jefferson runners.

"I know he went to a camp at Christmas and he's been throwing since then," Brashears said. "He did a good job for us."

Goretti left nine runners stranded, including two in the sixth when Jefferson turned a sensational 5-4-3 double play to get out of the inning.

"The double play in the sixth inning was the big play of the game, at least defensively," Lowery said.

Neither team committed an error, while both teams turned double plays.

"You won't see a much better played game than that," Lowery said.

"Last year, they beat us 15-5 and 22-4," Brashears said. "To lose 1-0 to them, that's a nice job on both sides of the fence."

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