Koppenhaver has break go his way

March 30, 2007|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Jefferson's Kyle Koppenhaver never had a chance to take the mound last year after breaking his collarbone in the preseason.

The Cougars senior finally toed the rubber Thursday night against Williamsport and his arm strength was not an issue.

Koppenhaver pitched four scoreless innings of relief for his first varsity action, while Jefferson scored three late runs to knock off the Wildcats 5-2 at Sager Field.

Koppenhaver allowed one hit, struck out four and walked none.

"I'm pretty much fully recovered. It's been a year," Koppenhaver said. "I kind of surprised myself. I was really focused on getting the first strike and I was confident on how low I kept the ball."

Koppenhaver inherited a 3-0 count when he entered in the top of the fourth with the game tied at 2-2. He responded with three straight fastballs to fan Andrew Duff. No Wildcat fared much better the rest of the way. His only misstep was a two-out double to A.J. Jamison, who finshed with three two-base hits.


"In his first opportunity, he pitched very well," Jefferson coach John Lowery said. "I was extremely pleased with how he did."

Koppenhaver faced two batters over the minimum - the Cougars committed two fielding errors - and induced a double play in the fifth inning. He threw 52 pitches - 35 for strikes.

"They're really patient and they battled me deep into some counts," Koppenhaver said. "They're good at hitting the offspeed stuff and they don't swing at a lot of bad pitches."

Duff settled in for Williamsport after a rough start and matched Koppenhaver's efficiency on the mound. After surrendering two runs and four walks through two innings, Duff retired 10 of 11 to keep the Wildcats (2-1) within reach of the Cougars (4-1). He scattered six hits in the complete game.

"That's what he's capable of," said Williamsport coach Larnie Vickers. "For his first time on the mound and against a good team like Jefferson in this atmosphere, he did a great job."

Duff appeared to tire as he topped the 100-pitch mark in the bottom of the sixth and Jefferson took advantage.

Drew Stevens led off with a single and Koppenhaver followed one batter later with a bloop single. Bobby O'Donnell's single down the left-field line scored Stevens and Marquise Jones - running for Koppenhaver - scored on a fielder's choice by Colton Gustines to give Jefferson a 4-2 lead. The Cougars added an insurance run, but that's all it was as Koppenhaver closed out the win.

"We were taking pitches early in the game, but at that point if we were going to get it done, we were going to get it done with our 3-4-5 guys in the lineup," Lowery said.

Jefferson struck first in the first when Matt Tiano walked and scored on a triple by Stevens. Stevens scored on Jonathan Hash's groundout to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead.

Travis Sluger's two-run single knotted the game at 2-2 in the third, but the Wildcats left the bases loaded for the second straight inning against Cougars starter Brandon Campbell. Williamsport stranded nine baserunners in the game.

"It would have been nice to get at least one run in those situations," Vickers said.

ยท Vickers returned to Sager Field for the first time as an opposing coach. He played for the Cougars for three years before graduating in 2000 and he also served as an assistant under Lowery. He was joined by assistant coach Ethan Osborne, also a former Cougar.

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