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Arnold pitches Jefferson City past Warrensburg in 9-0 win

by Trevor Hahn | March 22, 2023 at 12:12 a.m.
Zac Arnold of Jefferson City warms up during Tuesday night's game against Warrensburg at Vivion Field. (Trevor Hahn/News Tribune)

Senior Zac Arnold had quite the start to his senior baseball season.

Arnold allowed two hits in the first inning but that was it, as he threw six scoreless frames to lead the Jefferson City Jays to a 9-0 victory in their season opener Tuesday against the Warrensburg Tigers.

Arnold finished with five strikeouts and allowed two hits, two walks and hit a batter while throwing 88 pitches in his six innings.

“He’s a competitor,” Jefferson City coach Kyle Lasley said. “… He threw all three pitches for strikes and was around the zone. I thought Mason (Wall) called a great game, too.”

Arnold struck out the first batter of the game but allowed back-to-back singles to follow.

After a wild pitch moved the runners into scoring position, Arnold picked up a huge strikeout on a 2-2 breaking ball for the second out. The Tigers were held off the scoreboard after Ryan Tadsen made a leaping grab at third base on a hard liner hit by Aedan McCracken on the first pitch.

“You get out of a jam like that going into innings two, three, four and beyond, your confidence level goes up,” Lasley said. “He was around the zone and that’s good early in the season.”

The first two batters recorded outs for the Jays in the bottom half, but Jordan Martin started a two-out rally with a single to left-center field.

Wall and Dylan Wallace followed with walks and Arnold picked up an RBI when he was hit by a pitch.

Ethan Garnett, courtesy running for Wall, scored the second run of the inning after a wild pitch went to the backstop and chaos ensued after.

Charlie Morgan, courtesy running for Arnold, ran to second base on the wild pitch but the two runners in front were not moving. And after Warrensburg threw to first base to try to get Morgan retreating to first, the two runners in front were able to move up and allowed Garnett to score. Everyone was safe on the play.

“I like the philosophy of score first and put pressure on them,” Lasley said. “… I like what we did at the plate.”

A two-run lead would have been plenty for Arnold on the mound Tuesday, as he retired the next 11 batters he faced after the two one-out singles in the first.

And the Jays continued to add on runs at the plate.

Arnold led off the bottom of the third with a single to right-center field and was replaced by Morgan on the bases again.

Morgan ended up scoring on a wild pitch to put Jefferson City in front 3-0 after three, but for the third inning in a row, the Jays stranded the bases loaded.

“At the end of the day, we left a lot of guys on base, too,” Lasley said. “A lot of guys left in scoring position. We will have to be better at that moving forward.”

Jefferson City added on another run in the fourth on a two-out RBI single to right field by Brody Johns to score Morgan, running for Arnold again after he doubled to right field.

It continued in the fifth, as Ryan Tadsen led off with a single and scored on a double that one-hopped the right-field wall by Ethan Lipp.

Lipp scored two batters later on an RBI groundout by Martin to make it 6-0 through five.

“Probably the most impressive thing is you have a couple of guys coming off a basketball season, a very successful basketball season,” Lasley said. “This is their first time seeing live ABs. They didn’t get to play in the Jamboree, so to see they can go out there and still compete at the plate is good to see.”

Jefferson City nearly collected a run-rule victory in the bottom of the sixth.

Wallace scored on a wild pitch, Cole Heller drove in a pair with a double to right, but the Jays stranded two more and were forced to play the seventh.

Wallace pitched a scoreless seventh to close out the game, hitting the first batter he faced before retiring the next three with two strikeouts.

Arnold led the way at the plate as well for Jefferson City (1-0), going 2-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. Lipp, Tripp Maassen, Martin, Johns, Heller and Tadsen each had one hit.

Sam Slobaszewski and Gauge Claunch picked up the two hits for Warrensburg (1-1).

The Jays will return to action at 5:30 p.m. today against Capital City (0-2) at Vivion Field. The game will be moved to Capital City High School if there is too much rain today.

Jefferson City also picked up a 6-2 win in a three-inning JV game Tuesday against the Tigers.


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