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Hash marks Cougars' way in rout

May 24, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Jefferson pitcher Jonathan Hash recently added a four-seam fastball to his pitching arsenal.

Hash put the pitch on display Tuesday as he mowed down the Hampshire Trojans to lead the Cougars to a 15-0 victory and a spot in the West Virginia Class AAA Region II championship game.

Jefferson (32-5) travels to face host Bridgeport on Thursday, looking for a ninth region title in 10 years.

"I've been throwing the two-seam, but sometimes I struggle with controlling it," Hash said. "I switched to the four-seam and this is really the first time I've thrown it. It worked for me and I was able to throw strikes."

Hash (5-1) allowed four hits in the five-inning shutout, while striking out six and walking none. The Trojans were kept out of scoring position until the fifth inning and by then they were trailing by 15 runs. Hash got out of the jam with a game-ending double play.

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"That's what you ask for," said Jefferson coach John Lowery. "Don't walk batters and keep them off the bases. He threw a very good game out there."

Just as Hash showed no rust after a 10-day layoff, the Jefferson offense was just as sharp. The Cougars needed just three hits to score six first-inning runs as they took advantage of three walks and two errors.

Brian Collins had a run-scoring double, while Westley Jenkins and Justin Grantham, the bottom two in Jefferson's order, each added two-run singles as each finished two hits and four RBI.

"They both had timely hits for us," Lowery said. "We have guys that can hit in any position. When the top of the lineup doesn't get it done, then the bottom does. And when the bottom doesn't hit, the top does. It's been like that all year."

Jefferson went through four Hampshire pitchers before winning by the 10-run mercy rule in 4 1/2 innings. The Cougars knocked Trojans starter Brandon Oster out of the game in the third after Joe Wilt and Corie Gustines scored on a double by Jenkins to increase the lead to 9-0.

The Cougars needed only one hit to add five more runs in the fourth inning. Three Hampshire pitchers combined for five walks in the frame.

"The kids were definitely geared up to play, but you just can't predict games like this," Lowery said. "Some days you'll come out and hit the ball and some days you don't. You can't predict it."

Justin Carey and Jordan Diehl each had pinch-hit RBI singles in the fifth. Brendan McLaughlin homered in the second.

Hampshire ends its season at 19-11.

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