On Saturday afternoon, two undefeated powerhouse teams met in St. Louis to square off in a much anticipated double-header. The Jackson Indians took on the CBC Cadets, and the two Varsity squads traded wins back and forth, with Jackson winning the first game 1-0 and CBC besting the Indians 7-2 in the matinee.
The Indians came in at 5-0, easily dispatching their competition along the way, but knew they would have their hands full with the number 21 team in the country. The Nationally ranked Cadets sported a 6-0 record, thanks to a lineup that includes five D1 commits, but needed to respect their opponents in this tilt, as the Indians are no pushovers.
The first game of the double-header was a pitchers’ duel right down to the finish. The only scoring of the game was in the third when the Indians led off the top of the inning with a Jack Wyatt single, but he was immediately picked off. Logan Bruns then reached on a two-base error, advanced to third on a groundout and then scampered home on a wild pitch. There is your lone run. Not necessarily pretty, but effective.
The reason that was the only tally was the exquisite performance of JP Sauer on the mound. The talented hurler had a day to remember, as he blanked the Cadets over all seven frames for a complete game shutout. Sauer scattered five hits and a pair of walks en route to his clean sheet while fanning three along the way. He picked up the win and the Indians dashed CBC’s hope of a perfect season.
Ameritime Sports caught up with Sauer and asked him how did it felt to get a shutout against the #21 ranked team in the nation? He responded with, “It felt great especially seeing how excited the rest of the team was to beat a team of that magnitude. My goal to be successful quickly changed. It took me an inning or 2 to realize that trying to strikeout the caliber of hitters CBC has would not keep me in the game for long. They were going to hit the ball so keeping my pitches low producing ground balls were huge. The infield played an incredible game, producing 16 ground ball outs and being errorless. It made my job a lot easier knowing that I had a lot of trust in the 8 others on the field, and you can always be relaxed as a pitcher when Kyle Richardson is your catcher. He works his butt of every game.”
HIs teammate, Bruns, followed up with his thoughts on scoring the game’s lone run, saying, “Since I haven’t been able to throw due to an arm injury, it’s a good feeling to still be able to impact the team and help us win, especially in a big game like that.”
The second game wasn’t quite as fortuitous, as the Cadets were out for revenge, and brought their bats this time. It started out as a pitchers’ duel once again, but CBC broke through with a pair of runs in the third. Still, racking up a nine-inning scoreless streak against one of the best teams in the country is nothing to sneeze at.
Sadly, that was the last bit of good news for a while, as the Cadets came back with five more in the fourth. Their seven hits were aided by three Indians errors and seven free passes from Jackson hurlers, leading to the crooked numbers on the scoreboard. The Indians did manage to get on the board in the final inning though as Caden Bogenpohl blasted a two-run homer over the right field fence, but that was all they could muster in the 7-2 loss.
Jackson only managed three hits in the game, and two of them came from Bogenpohl in his solid effort at the plate. The deciding factors were that the Cadets’ bats woke up and they played a clean game on defense.
The news from the rubber was mainly about Cayden Drum and his four innings on the mound. He allowed seven runs, but was victimized by some poor defense, as only three of them were earned. He surrendered five hits and four walks while striking out three. The Indians then looked to their flame-throwing closer, Cameron Marchi, to close out the game in a non-save situation. He went two innings and pitched his way out of multiple jams, keeping the Cadets off the board despite allowing two hits and three walks.
The loss was a bit of a bummer following the big win in the first game, but this was still a statement made by the Jackson Indians. They proved that they can not only hang with, but defeat some of the top competition in the country. Look for many, many more wins down the road, starting with the Notre Dame Bulldogs on Tuesday.
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