Young Works Out Of Jam, Jammers Edge Geneva, 2-1
With two outs in the top of the seventh inning Thursday night, Jamestown Jammers manager Anthony Barone strolled to the mound for a chat with his starting pitcher Christian Young.
The 6-foot-5 right-hander had just allowed a walk and a hard-hit single with two outs, and it looked like Barone was ready to lift his ace from the game.
Instead, he gave the West Virginia University hurler one more chance to finish what he had started.
Young obliged, striking out Geneva leadoff batter Jesse Hall, looking to end the threat and preserve the Jammers’ lead.
Jamestown relievers Colin Johnston and Ryan Boyer combined to strike out five over the final two innings and the Jammers hung on for a 2-1 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League victory over the Red Wings.
“I wanted to stay in. He came out to me and said, ‘I hope you want to finish this.’ I told him that I did,” Young said. “He had enough faith in me to let me stay in there, go out and compete to get the last out.”
“Me and Coach (Hayden) Carter talked about extending his pitch count a little bit,” Barone added. “He wanted to go back out for the seventh. I was really happy that he wanted to, because he’s such a competitive young man.”
The win gives Barone’s team at least a share of its second straight West Division championship with an 11-game lead and 11 games to go in the season. Isaiah Moten will be on the mound tonight in Newark as the Jammers look to wrap up the title outright with a victory.
“It’s really important to me. Any time you can win a divisional title, it’s really special,” Barone said. ” … It’s not done yet, but we’re going to try to close it out.”
Young certainly did his part Thursday. He allowed five hits and just one run while walking one and striking out five. The Hamburg native improved to 3-0 with a 0.86 earned run average this summer and needed just 87 pitches to navigate his seven innings.
“It was just a really competitive start by Christian. He just gave us a really good chance of winning that game,” Barone said. “I’m always confident with Christian. … He put together another great start for us and got us to Johnston and Boyer.”
The former NJCAA All-American at Niagara County Community College retired Geneva in order in the first, third, fifth and sixth innings.
“My pitches weren’t on,” Young said. “It wasn’t my best day, but the defense was there to back me up.”
Geneva starter Jared Sasaki nearly matched Young out for out. The UC-Davis right-hander threw 5 2/3 innings, allowing just five hits and two runs (no earned) while walking three and striking out three.
“Their pitcher was a Sunday starter at UC-Davis this year. … He’s a really good pitcher,” Barone said. “We knew facing him was going to be a challenge. He doesn’t throw hard, but he just kept everybody off-balance and located his stuff really well.”
The Jammers scored both of their runs in the bottom of the second inning without a batted ball leaving the infield. Jeff Timko led off with an infield single and went to second when an errant throw glanced off the Red Wings’ dugout. Dailin Lee followed with a bunt single to move Timko to third base before Ben Livorsi worked his first of three walks on the night. After a strikeout, Rashad Stewart hit a hard groundball to the shortstop, but the first throw of a potential double play went into left field allowing Timko and Lee to score.
Geneva got its run in the top of the fourth inning as Tanner Murray hit a one-out double and scored on Nick LaBrasca’s RBI single that dribbled through the right side of the infield. The Red Wings eventually loaded the bases, but Young got out of the frame with a groundout.
“I wasn’t being smart. I was leaving stuff up. They were just hitting it,” Young said. “I threw a fastball and they hit it. They kind of made me pay. They did better than me that inning, but I came back.”
“I think he tried being too careful with his changeup and just left them up,” Barone added. “Geneva is a very good hitting team. You can’t make any mistakes against them.”
Geneva did not threaten again until the seventh when Lane Powell walked and Trustin Riley singled with two outs. After Barone’s mound visit, Young got ahead of Hall 0-2 before Livorsi made another mound visit to talk about Young’s putaway pitch. A curveball did the trick as Hall watched it float over the outside corner to end the inning.
Johnston got through the eighth inning with the help of a pickoff and two strikeouts before Boyer struck out the side in impressive fashion in the ninth.
“I think he is just feeling really confident about himself,” Barone said of Boyer. “We knew when we get to Boyer he is going to throw strikes, compete and come right at the other team. … With a one-run lead, that was really good.”
NOTES: Jamestown improved to 26-10 overall, including 19-1 at home, with the win. … Timko had two of the Jammers’ six hits to raise his average to .343 on the season. … Jamestown stranded nine runners on base. … Murray had two hits for Geneva, which stranded seven runners on base.