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Two homers better than one

April 01, 2006|By BOB PARASILITI

WAYNESBORO, Pa

The Jefferson baseball team spent Friday afternoon waiting for a date with opportunity.

But the Cougars got stood up. Opportunity never knocked.

Waynesboro did all the little things, giving Jefferson nothing to scavenge on, as pitching and defense made home runs by Zach Helman and Ryan Chaney stand up for a 2-1 victory over West Virginia's top-ranked team in Class AAA.

"They didn't walk anyone or have any errors," Jefferson coach John Lowery said. "That means you have to string more hits together to score."

Waynesboro didn't provide anything for Jefferson to build on. The Cougars (4-1) had five hits - all singles except for Jonathan Hash's one-out home run in the fifth inning to cut the deficit to one run.

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The Indians didn't commit any errors, while the trio of Waynesboro pitchers - Joe Minnich, Nick Wagaman and Cory Livengood - allowed just three walks.

To top it off, Waynesboro catcher Andrew Caron gunned down the Cougars' only steal attempt and the Indians turned a pair of nifty double plays to keep Jefferson at bay.

It was the near-perfect game against what had been the historically near-perfect opponent.

"It was just an outstanding game," Waynesboro coach Greg Chandler said. "There was solid pitching, hitting and defense. The big thing is to make all the routine plays. Double plays are probably the most difficult play to make because of all the motion and people moving all over, but we try to approach them to make them as routine as possible."

Maybe the biggest play came from Caron in the first inning.

After drawing a one-out walk, Jefferson's Brendan McLaughlin attempted to steal second to get in scoring position and possibly give the Cougars the early lead. Caron came up throwing as Brian Collins struck out and gunned McLaughlin down for an inning-ending double play, all but putting an end to Jefferson's running game.

"Not many people are going to run on their catcher," Lowery said. "You could see he had an arm. We tried to run with one of our quicker guys and it turned into a strike 'em out, throw 'em out play."

Jefferson starting pitcher Justin Carey was dominating through the first three innings, recording strikeouts on six of the first nine outs. He struck out five of the six batters he faced in the first three innings. Only Helman broke the string with his one-out blast to left in the second.

Chaney led off the fourth with his shot through a crosswind to right for a 2-0 lead. From there, Carey wasn't as dominant, but stayed out of trouble to keep the Cougars in the game.

Minnich kept Jefferson off balance through his four-inning start, with the help of the two double plays. Wagaman was tagged with Hash's one-out home run to left and then escaped further damage.

Carey and Justin Grantham each had two-out singles before McLaughlin laced a hot shot down the third-base line that Helman made a diving stop on, but the hit was called foul.

"We had our best opportunity on that ground ball even though the kid made a great play, but it was called foul," Lowery said. "It was a game with two pitchers having great games. They just hit two out and we only got one."

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