After falling at the hands of a big offensive inning in the first game of the night, West Hall (8-3, 2-1 7-AAA) was boosted to a 2-0 victory behind the steady hand of a sophomore pitcher in Game 2 of Friday’s doubleheader.
With the win, the Spartans clinched a 2-1 series victory over the Vikings. West Hall earned the first win on Tuesday at home.
Zach Collins led off Game 2 with a single and was able to score three batters later on a passed ball.
Ultimately, the one run was all sophomore pitcher Jeffrey Jenkins would need.
Jenkins tossed a complete-game shutout, giving up three hits and two walks with six strikeouts. The last two innings, he was perfect, retiring the side in order each time.
“It was an unbelievable performance by him,” said West Hall coach Chad Sage. “It was very impressive, him being a sophomore and just going out there competing, especially getting through that last inning.”
The sophomore helped himself with an additional insurance run in the sixth inning, reaching safely on a walk and tagging up on a fly ball to make the score its final 2-0.
“The Jenkins kid pitched really well,” said East Hall coach Wesley Crow. “That kid, that’s one of the best pitching performances I’ve seen in a long time. He had a great changeup, he was able to get ahead of hitters — you just tip your hat to a kid who had a good night.”
Across the diamond, another sophomore put on a show on the mound as Luke Cooper started the second game for East Hall (7-4, 1-2).
Cooper recorded nine strikeouts in his five innings of work, including striking out three in the first and fifth innings.
“That’s two sophomores (Cooper and Jenkins) who have really good arms,” Crow said. “That’s two kids that have dynamic pitches that, when they’re ahead in the count, it’s hard to hit. Those guys are going to make names for themselves this year on the mound.”
The Spartans finished the contest with nine runners left on base.
Next up, East Hall hosts Fannin County at 5:55 p.m. Tuesday. West Hall travels to Franklin County Tuesday at 5:55 p.m.
EAST HALL 13, WEST HALL 3 (GAME 1): East Hall scored six runs on three hits in the fourth inning to earn a win in the opening game of Friday’s home doubleheader against West Hall.
The Vikings were holding on to a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth.
East Hall opened the inning with the first batter flying out and the second hitter getting caught stealing second after reaching on a bunt. From there, the charge was on.
Eli Stuart and Vikings’ pitcher Jonah Crocker were recipients of back-to-back walks before Levi Crocker was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Luke Cooper came through with a two-RBI single through the right side, scoring Stuart and Jonah Crocker.
The 6-3 lead forced a pitching change from the Spartans.
On the first pitch from West Hall reliever Will Dogue, Trevor Rider delivered another single through the right side and into the outfield. The hit resulted in another pair of runs with Levi Crocker coming in from third and Cooper dashing in from second base.
Rider’s brother Tripp came to the plate next and was hit by a pitch.
With Riders on first and second, Luke Holtzclaw put a ball into play, which resulted in a throwing error allowing Trevor to cross the plate.
A walk to Cole Smith loaded the bases again before a walk to Jesse Cooper plated Tripp Rider to make the score 10-3.
The game was ultimately cut short in the sixth inning when the Vikings saw Isaac Buffington, Holtzclaw and Smith score, the last two on a single from Crocker, to induce the run rule.
“East Hall came out firing in that first game and we couldn’t seem to catch our breath,” said West Hall coach Chad Sage. “It seemed like every inning they were driving the ball into the gaps. That was a frustrating game.”
Jesse Cooper, Stuart and Luke Cooper all scored runs in the first inning for the Vikings. Jesse Cooper was able to score after leading off the bottom of the frame on a catcher’s interference call.
Levi Crocker scored the Vikings’ fourth run in the third inning on an RBI single from Trevor Rider.
The Spartans were able to get on the board early with Zach Collins leading off with a single. Collins scored two batters later when Brian Newman delivered a single past the Vikings’ third baseman.
Then, Josh Anderson roped a double on the first pitch he saw in the game to score Newman from first.
For East Hall, Trevor Rider finished the game 3 for 4 at the plate with three RBIs and a run scored.
“Trevor Rider is seeing the ball really well — and that’s a freshman,” said East Hall coach Wesley Crow. “He’s seeing the ball really well and hitting a lot of balls hard to every part of the field. He’s got a good swing and some confidence rolling. He’s good.”
Luke Cooper was 2 for 2 with three RBIs, two runs scored and a pair of walks. Levi Crocker was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Collins led West Hall in the contest, going 3 for 4 with a run scored.
Overshadowed by his high-scoring offense, Jonah Crocker pitched five strong innings, giving up eight hits and three runs on eight strikeouts. He finished the game with 85 pitches.
Isaac Buffington closed the game for the Vikings, pitching a perfect sixth inning on just five pitches.