Special to the Grove Sun
JAY - Using a quartet of pitchers and some pretty good defense the Jay Summer Dawgs held off the Baxter Springs Lions by a slim 5-4 margin in a scheduled nine inning affair Tuesday evening at Trollinger-Haggard Field.
After the Lion leadoff man went down on a come backer to the mound, Baxter Springs’ Zak Himes rapped a one-out single. But the Dawgs’ starting pitcher, Bryce Davenport, fanned the three and four hole batters to get out of the first.
In Jay’s opening at bats, Matt Henderson (3 for 5, with two stolen bases and a two runs scored) did what lead off men are supposed to do, by legging out an infield single. Henderson swiped second and strolled home on Cory Stiefel’s long double for a 1-0 edge.
Both teams went down in order in the second, with Davenport whiffing another pair of Lion batters in the top of the frame. In the home half of the third, Henderson led off with a single, stole second base and raced home to score his second run of the day when Davenport scalded a double into the gap. Defensively, Davenport was untouchable from the hill, throwing four innings of shutout one-hit ball and allowing only one batted ball out of the infield, before giving way to senior Tyler Buss.
The Dawgs left-hander mowed down the Lions in order in the top of the fifth and looked to be on his way out of the sixth by striking out the first two . But the next pair of Baxter Springs batters reached base on walks. And that’s when Krue Christensen slapped a single that was misplayed by the leftfielder, knotting the affair at two each.
Jay came right back in the bottom of the sixth, when J.J. Meeker and Ty Kay led off with back-to-back singles. Both runners came in to score on RBI singles off of the bats of Ty Moore and Buss, allowing the Dawgs to retake the lead, 4-2.
Stiefel took the hill for the top of the seventh and after allowing a one-out single, struck the next hitter with the pitch. Another single scored the lead runner before Stiefel got out of the jam.
Jay threatened in the home half, when Davenport led off with his game’s third hit. But the next three Jay batters went down in order, still leading by one.
With one down in the top of the eigth, the visitors’ Himes reached base with his second single and moved to second when Austin Carnes was struck by a pitch. Carnes was erased behind Tyler Underhill’s RBI single that plated Himes to pull within one.
But the Dawgs came back again in the bottom of the eighth, when Moore led off with his third base rap of the day on a double to the wall. Moore advanced to third and scored on Kellen Brown’s one-out base hit for the 5-3 lead.
In the top of the ninth, Meeker came out from behind the plate to take over pitching duties while Stiefel went to catcher. Colton Krokroskia got the top of the ninth started with a double. A subsequent walk put runners on first and second with one out and a balk moved both runners into scoring position. Krokroskia made it 5-4 when he scored on a two-out miscue. But the runner behind Krokroskia found himself caught in no man’s land drifting around third base. And the alert Jay defense nailed him to preserve the one run victory.