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Simons says - Take a seat

April 09, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - From the very first inning when he needed only eight pitches to retire Hedgesville, it appeared Josh Simons was going to be in control of something good happening for the Jefferson baseball team Friday night.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound righty was in full control as he went the distance to lead Jefferson to a 6-1 victory over Hedgesville in the first meeting of the year between the two rivals.

Simons, who went 9-2 last year, racked up eight strikeouts and walked two, allowing four singles and only three outs to reach the outfield.

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"My fastball was working and I thought I could throw it any time I wanted to for strikes," said Simons.

While he could have thrown fastballs that looked to range in the 86-to-88 mph range on every pitch, he effectively mixed them with a changeup and curveball that consistently found the black part of home plate.

"I just like to go out there and throw the baseball," Simons said. "I had a good curveball and got a lot of good calls on the corners."

Simons (2-0) was supported with an eight-hit attack that included a home run in the second inning by junior third baseman Brian Collins that gave Jefferson (7-3) a 1-0 lead.

"I hit a good fastball that was right down the middle of the plate," said Collins, who ripped his first varsity homer over the 372-foot sign in left-center field.

Hedgesville (7-4) knotted the game 1-1 in the last of the third on an unearned run as Simons walked Jesse Simmons, who went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error by Jonathan Hash.

However, the Cougars racked up a three-spot in the fourth off Hedgesville's Ross Pedersen with a two-out rally with one runner on base.

David Smith singled to put two runners on base and the Eagles could have been out of the inning on a fly ball to right by Brandon Piper.

But Whitford came charging in too fast, tried to stop in his tracks but didn't fast enough as the ball sailed over his head for a two-run double and a 3-1 Jefferson lead.

Hash drove in Piper with a single and went to second on a throwing error and eventually scored on a single by Brendan McLaughlin.

Devin Terris had an RBI groundout and McLaughlin had a run-scoring single for Jefferson in the seventh inning.

"Tonight was typical of what (Simons) did last year and what he is capable of doing this year," said Jefferson coach John Lowery, who picked up his 905th career coaching win. "When he gets his curveball over it is like money in the bank."

Hedgesville coach Ben Merica might agree with his counterpart's assessment.

"That was typical of what he's done against us," Merica said. "Last year we're hitting .367 as a team and he comes in and we get two hits. I think there is a window of 83 mph or less for a high school player to not have any flaws hitting. We didn't get the ball on the bat because he was throwing so well."

McLaughlin, batting ninth in the order, had three of Jefferson's hits while Hash, hitting eighth, picked up a pair. Mark Murphy had two hits for Hedgesville.

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