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Cougars ace Hash 1-hits Martinsburg

May 09, 2007|by JOHN O'BRIEN / Staff Correspondent

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - With the way Jefferson ace Jonathan Hash was pitching Tuesday night, Martinsburg coach John Lowery Jr. decided it didn't matter who was throwing against him.

The Cougars strung enough hits together to coast to a 5-0 win while Hash struck out 10 in a one-hitter that sends Jefferson (29-3) to the championship round of the Class AAA Region II Section 2 playoffs.

Trailing 3-0, Lowery Jr. pulled his ace, Brandon King, after only four innings and 60 pitches, hoping to save his arm for the must-win games to come.

"We had four base-runners all night. We weren't even coming close," Lowery Jr. said. "Maybe (pulling King) wasn't the most positive perspective, but we have to think about winning at the end of the week. I know we can do it."

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The Bulldogs (23-8) will play in an elimination game tonight at 7 p.m. at Hedgesville, which Martinsburg defeated by the mercy rule in Monday's sectional opener. The winner advances to play Jefferson on Thursday and will need to defeat the Cougars twice.

Hash, a West Virginia University recruit, made the most of his sectional appearance, not allowing a runner past second.

Hash surrendered only an infield single to Zach Newhouse, who was stranded on second when Hash struck out the Bulldogs' top two hitters, King and Kevin Griffin.

Hash walked three and threw 69 of his 121 pitches for strikes. In 24 innings against Martinsburg this year, he has allowed only three runs and won all three games.

"Tonight was a big night, especially getting that first win," Hash said. "I didn't feel that great. My velocity wasn't what I usually have, but my slider worked well and my defense made some plays behind me."

"A lot of things go into a one-hit game," said Jefferson coach John Lowery, who remained undefeated against his son in three years of head-to-head matchups. "The pitcher starts it, but the defense supports it, and that's what they did tonight."

Jefferson took advantage of a few Martinsburg mistakes in a three-run third inning.

Matt Tiano's one-out single went under the glove of third baseman Jake Wines, and Justin Grantham's grounder to first was booted by Brad Beebe to put two runners on for Drew Stevens. He lined a single to center that short-hopped under the glove of Newhouse and scored both runners as Stevens wound up on third. Stevens scored on O'Donnell's infield single.

"Stevens hit the ball right on the nose," Lowery said. "That's a difficult play for any center fielder. It was our fortune that the ball got past him and went to the deepest part of the ballpark."

Beebe relieved King and allowed a run in the fifth when Grantham dislodged the ball from the catcher Griffin's glove on a fielder's choice. In the sixth, pinch hitter Brandon Campbell doubled home a run.

"I know the kids are trying (defensively), but the reality is we have to make plays in championship settings, and that's what this is," Lowery Jr. said. "For whatever reason, we haven't done that on this field in the last couple of years."

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