The Jackson Indians played host to the Lafayette Lancers on Saturday and the two clubs each earned a victory in the double header. Lafayette, a perennial baseball power house and alma mater to MLB All Stars Ryan Howard and David Freese, stymied the potent Jackson offense in the matinee with a 3-0 win. The Indians would get even though, as their bats woke up in the finale, and they cruised to a 6-2 victory.
The Indians would have appeared to have the advantage in the opener, due to the presence of ace John-Paul Sauer on the mound, but the Lancers were the first team this season to put a chink in his armor. They managed a run in the third and then two more in the fifth to go up 3-0.
Sauer pitched well, giving up three runs (two earned) over five innings, but Lafayette touched him for six hits and three walks. The hard-throwing right-hander was saddled with his first loss of the season despite tossing a quality start. Caden Bogenpohl came on in relief and pitched two scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and zero walks while fanning five.
The offense just couldn’t seem to get it going in this one. The Tribe managed just four hits (all singles) and three walks in the game. When they got on they still ran, swiping four bases, but it wasn’t enough to scratch out a run. Henley Parker, Quinton Borders, Landon Watkins and Grant Dotson were responsible for the four hits.
That loss was likely a tough pill to swallow, but this Indians squad is a resilient bunch, and instead of getting dragged down by Lafayette’s momentum, they flipped the script and took over in game two.
The Lancers struck first with a run in the top of the first and then again in the top of the second, but the Indians responded in the bottom half of inning number two. Five consecutive singles, including RBI base hits from Dotson and Cooper Rhodes, tied the score at two. Jackson then capitalized on an error that plated two more and gave them their first lead of the series.
They weren’t done though. In the bottom of the third, Clayton Ernst drove in a run with a sacrifice fly before Dotson delivered again with another run scoring single. That gave the Indians a 6-2 lead, and the pitching took over from there.
Carson McDaniel was on the mound, and despite the hiccups in the first two innings, he pitched brilliantly. He went all seven innings for the victory and allowed just those two runs on six hits and a walk. He stuck out five on the day.
Dotson had a terrific game at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI, a run scored and a stolen base. Watkins was big as well with his 2-for-3 effort that featured a pair of runs and a steal. Five other Indians managed a base hit in this one, but the typical Jackson power wasn’t on display this weekend. They were unable to collect an extra-base hit in the series.
Rest assured, that power stroke will return. This team is far too talented and well coached not to make adjustments, and the unseasonably cold weather didn’t make things any easier. Still, despite the outage they managed take one of the two games and move to 17-6 on the season.
Expect the power outage to turn into a surge on Monday when they host Central out of New Madrid County at 4:30 pm.