Three Jays combine for one-hit shutout of Waynesville

Jefferson City relief pitcher Jacob Weirich throws during the Jays’ game with Waynesville on Wednesday at Vivion Field.

Jefferson City relief pitcher Jacob Weirich throws during the Jays’ game with Waynesville on Wednesday at Vivion Field. Photo by Kris Wilson.

The Jefferson City Jays have had better days at the plate.

But their pitching and defense made up for that.

Adam Grunden, Jacob Weirich and Blaine Meyer combined to throw a one-hit shutout as Jefferson City held off Waynesville 4-0 on Wednesday at Vivion Field.

“Pitching and defense looked good,” Jefferson City coach Brian Ash said. “We just looked a little nonchalant offensively for being our second game at home on a beautiful day. I thought we’d have a little more fire in our belly, but defensively and pitching, I thought we did a very good job.”

Jefferson City (7-3) had five hits and took advantage of three Waynesville errors to provide enough run support early. The Jays’ pitching trio, and a flawless defensive effort behind them, took care of the rest.

“Our pitchers did a really good job today,” said Jefferson City senior Jackson Walker, who was 2-for-3 with an RBI to lead the Jays offensively. “They helped us out a lot.”

Grunden allowed one hit and one walk in four innings to get Jefferson City off to a good start. The senior right-hander threw 41 pitches — 30 for strikes — in his first appearance in 10 days.

“I came out and I just wanted to pitch to contact,” Grunden said. “I wanted to get (ahead) in the count early and bury them.”

Grunden’s only hit came against Derek Wood, the second batter of the game, but the Tigers didn’t manage another hit and were limited to three baserunners the rest of the game.

“Adam had a good bullpen session this week and I was proud of the way he just went out there and battled after not being in a game situation for a little over a week,” Ash said. “I thought he did a tremendous job.”

Wanting to have Grunden available to pitch in this weekend’s Capital City Invitational — a four-game tournament — Ash went to Jacob Weirich in the top of the fifth with the Jays leading 2-0.

The freshman didn’t disappoint in just his second varsity outing.

“I’m proud of him,” Ash said. “For a freshman to go out there, in that situation, and compete the way he did, I was very proud of him.”

Weirich struck out three and didn’t allow a hit in two innings after pitching around a walk and a hit batter in the fifth.

Meyer worked quick in the top of the seventh, recording three straight popups against the middle of the Tigers’ lineup to put the game away.

Through 10 games this season, Jefferson City has recorded two shutouts and the Jays have limited opponents to four runs or fewer in eight outings.

“We’ve all been playing together for a long time, so we know what each other has,” Grunden said of the Jays’ pitching staff. “I feel like we can all get the job done.”

Jefferson City, which averages six runs per game, wasn’t completely silent at the plate.

Gabe Marcantonio led off the bottom of the first with a hit and Walker followed two batters later with an RBI single with two outs to give the Jays a 1-0 lead.

Ripken Dodson also led off the second with a single and came around to score when Alex Johnson laid down a sacrifice bunt to give Jefferson City a 2-0 cushion.

“I was trying to just wake up the offense a little bit and I thought it would get us a little excited,” Ash said. “Alex is our best bunter on the team, so I wasn’t shocked he was able to get it down. The ball was high and a little outside and he was able to get the job done.

“Anytime you can execute a squeeze play and steal a run like that — that’s big.”

Hayden Strobel delivered with a sacrifice fly with two outs to score Anderson from third in the fifth and Jefferson City took advantage of a two-out error in the sixth to take a 4-0 lead.

Four runs was enough. But the Jays are hoping for more this weekend when they kick off the Invitational against Lutheran: St. Charles at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Vivion Field.

“It’s still early in the season,” Walker said. “Some guys are still trying to get their timing back. In practice we come out here and smash, so I think we’re capable of getting lots of hits.”

In the junior varsity contest Jefferson City combined for 19 hits as the Jays rolled to a 21-1 win against Waynesville.

Geritt Schirts was 5-for-5 and drove in five runs, while David Rogers went 4-for-5 with five RBI to lead Jefferson City. Bryce Beckley was 3-for-5 with three RBI, Blain Meyer added three hits and one RBI, and Austin Mell added two hits and drove in one run to help pace the Jays.

Taylor Hartman earned the win for Jefferson City (7-1), who will play at Battle on Tuesday.

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