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Jays beat Pacific 8-1

Jefferson City’s Hayden Strobel dives back into first on a pickoff attempt during Tuesday’s game against Pacific at Vivion Field.

Jefferson City’s Hayden Strobel dives back into first on a pickoff attempt during Tuesday’s game against Pacific at Vivion Field. Photo by Kile Brewer.

Jefferson City has proven it has the ability to compete against high-caliber baseball teams.

But the Jays believe there is still room for improvement.

After picking up two victories as part of a four-game series in Florida last week, Jefferson City continued its winning ways by holding off Pacific 8-1 in five innings on a rainy Tuesday afternoon at Vivion Field.

“I think we’re playing OK,” Jefferson City coach Brian Ash said. “I don’t think we’re playing up to our potential quite yet. I don’t think we’ve strung together a complete game.”

Jake Walker, who picked up the win in his first start this season, had similar thoughts.

“I thought it was a great learning experience down in Florida,” said Walker, a Missouri State signee. “We faced some pretty good teams. I feel like we can get a lot better and I’m happy we went down there early so we can work out some things.”

Walker allowed two hits and one unearned run, striking out five in four innings to help guide the Jays to their third straight victory.

“It felt pretty good for the first time going out there and starting,” Walker said. “I could have done a couple things a little better, but all in all I thought I did pretty well.”

Cody Hager pitched around a walk and a hit batter to keep the Indians off the board in the top of the fifth and the game was called due to increasing rain with one out in the bottom of the frame.

Jefferson City (5-2) was in control long before then.

The Jays tallied seven hits, while taking advantage of four errors and five walks, to break the contest open early.

Jackson Walker was 2-for-3 and drove in two runs, while Hayden Strobel was 1-for-2 with two RBI and Rylie Klosterman added two hits to lead Jefferson City at the plate. Gabe Marcantonio and Jake Walker were both 1-for-2 and had RBI walks to help pace the Jays.

“I think we swung the bats great,” Klosterman said. “I think our offense is definitely one of our stronger points on our team.”

Defensively, Jefferson City was a little shaky in the top of the first. Hank Vandaveer led off the game with a base hit and came in to score after the Jays committed three errors in the frame.

“I was kind of hacked-off with the first inning to start off with three errors — and that’s how they ultimately scored their only run,” Ash said. “You eliminate that, you put up a zero, but unfortunately, we didn’t take care of business defensively the first inning.”

The Jays made up for their first-inning performance in a big way.

Jefferson City drew four walks, Klosterman singled and Alex Johnson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to set up a seven-run inning in the bottom off the second. Strobel capped off the inning with a two-run single and Jackson Walker followed with an RBI single to give the Jays a 7-1 lead.

“Our main focus this week, since we’ve gotten back from Florida, was having a two-strike approach,” Ash said. “We’re going to try to get up on the plate and force guys to beat us on the inner half. If they do, tip your cap to them.

“We’re really trying to emphasize hitting with two strikes and putting the ball in play no matter what.”

Jefferson City added one more run in the bottom of the fourth when Jackson Walker lined a RBI double to right field to give the Jays an 8-1 advantage.

That’s all they would need.

“I thought we took advantage of those walks and we got some timely hitting out of some guys when the bases were loaded,” Jake Walker said. “I think we’re a lot better hitting team than we showed, but we got some timely hitting out of some guys tonight.”

Ryan Howell received the loss, allowing seven runs (five earned) on three hits and four walks. The junior right-hander also hit a batter and struck out one in 11/3 innings as the Indians’ starter. Austin Muich yielded one run on four hits and one walk, while striking out three in four innings for Pacific.

Jefferson City will play at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Lee’s Summit North.

III

The Jefferson City Jays junior varsity team is off to a 6-1 start this season. The Jays went 4-1 in action last week in Fort Pierce, Fla.:

• A 3-2 win against Princeton Day. Taylor Hartman was the winning pitcher, while Blaine Meyer had two hits.

• A 5-2 win against Princeton Day. Bryce Beckley and Austin Mell had RBI in the victory.

• A 7-2 win against Chestnut Hill. Gerrit Shirts was the winner on the mound. Jake Pridgin, Kyle Irwin, Gavin Strobel and Beckley all had two hits. Beckley also drove in three runs.

• A 5-3 loss to Episcopal Academy. Dave Rogers had two hits, while Grant Wood took the loss.

• A 3-2 win over St. Margaret’s. Jacob Wyrick was the winner in relief. Hayden Hirschvogel had two hits and an RBI. Beckley and Blaine Meyer also drove in runs.

The Jays opened the season with a pair of victories March 22 in Springfield.

Jefferson City was a 13-8 winner against Helias. Logan Schmitz was the winning pitcher and had a pair of hits. Shirts had three hits, while Rogers totaled two hits and three RBI. Beckley and Gunnar See both added two hits and two RBI, while Hirschvogel drove in two runs.

The Jays then defeated Glendale 11-1 as Hirschvogel got the win. Grant Wood had four hits for Jefferson City, while Hirschvogel and Caleb Hankins added three each. Hirschvogel drove in three runs. Shirts, Hartman, Bell and Beckley all had two hits. Shirts and Beckley totaled two RBI.

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