Jays get in three innings before rain

Jefferson City head coach Brian Ash (left) and Sedalia Smith-Cotton head coach Jud Kindle meet on the infield to discuss their options as severe weather moves into the area Monday around Vivion Field.

Jefferson City head coach Brian Ash (left) and Sedalia Smith-Cotton head coach Jud Kindle meet on the infield to discuss their options as severe weather moves into the area Monday around Vivion Field. Photo by Kris Wilson.

It won’t count as a complete game. At least not for now.

But Jefferson City coach Brian Ash took away some positives from the Jays’ three-inning matchup Monday with Sedalia Smith-Cotton at Vivion Field.

“We knew with the weather coming in, we may not get the game in,” Ash said. “At least this kind of served as a simulated scrimmage for us. Plus, we were able to see a district opponent, who we may possibly play in that second round.”

Jefferson City had just finished batting in the bottom of the third inning with the game tied at 3 when the umpires directed both teams to their dugouts. Following a 25-minute delay, the game was called off due to rain and lightning.

Ash said it was “highly unlikely, but possible” the Jays (21-6) and Tigers (14-6) would resume play today.

Looking at the bigger picture, completing a full game didn’t seem all that important this late in the season.

“This served us just as good as coming out here and practicing,” Ash said.

Smith-Cotton had two hits and took advantage of an error, a hit batter and a walk to plate all three of its runs in the top of the first.

Jefferson City answered right back with three runs of its own in the bottom of the frame.

“That was a positive,” Ash said. “That’s probably the first time all year where we’ve gotten down like that early. It’s like, ‘OK no big deal, lets go up there and do our thing.’”

Alex Johnson and Hayden Strobel both singled and Jackson Walker followed with a two-run double to the left-field fence to bring in two runs without a throw to the plate.

Meanwhile, it turned out to be more than a double for the Jays’ starting catcher. While making an attempt to get back to the bag after rounding second on the play, Walker was hit in the helmet with a throw and came around to score to tie the game at 3.

“That was huge for us to answer right back,” Ash said. “Was it always pretty? No, but we were able to score three runs.”

Jefferson City stranded three baserunners in the next two innings, while the Tigers only managed a pair of walks.

Jays starting pitcher Travis Hennessy allowed three earned runs on two hits, while walking three, hitting one and striking out two in his three innings.

“He just wasn’t as sharp today,” Ash said. “In the warmups he looked really good, his fastball was pretty dang electric. Out here, his mechanics were a little off. You could tell because he was missing spots by a wide margin. He’s a kid that will learn from it. When it’s money ball, he usually steps up.”

Ripken Dodson and Brenden Ogletree both added hits for Jefferson City, which will play at 4:15 p.m. Thursday at Wentzville Holt.

The Jays earned the No. 1 seed in the Class 5 District 9 Tournament and will play the winner of No. 4 Hickman and No. 5 Smith-Cotton in a semifinal Monday at Rock Bridge.

No. 2 Rock Bridge will face No. 7 Camdenton, while No. 3 Helias will take on No. 6 Battle in the first round Friday.

“Obviously you play the whole year to get the highest seed you can in districts,” Ash said. “Within our district, I felt like we deserved the No. 1 seed, and I think everybody else in our district felt the same way.

“It’s an honor to get the No. 1 seed, especially with the field that we have — a very strong field; very good teams.”

The Jays have won 10-of-11 since falling April 21 to Hickman.

“Nobody else in our district has done that, so you’d have to say we’ve been playing as good as anybody in the state,” Ash said. “Does that translate into us winning a district title? No, because you have to do it when it matters. That’s the message we tell our kids. We’ll be ready, we’ll be prepared.”

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