JAMES CITY — Jamestown High avoided some close calls early, then poured on the offense in its 12-0 win over King’s Fork in the Group 4A East Region baseball tournament quarterfinals Monday at Jamestown. As a result, the Eagles (20-2) will play Wednesday for a second consecutive state semifinal berth.
The Eagles’ regional semifinal opponent won’t be determined until Lafayette plays at Great Bridge at 5 p.m. Tuesday in a quarterfinal postponed Monday by wet grounds at Great Bridge High. Jamestown coach John Cole is guessing it will be defending 4A state champion Hanover, a program he respects highly.
“I’m pretty sure we’re headed for a duel with the devil unless Lafayette beats Great Bridge,” Cole said of Hanover, which was ranked No. 1 nationally by MaxPreps in 2016 for schools with 1,000 to 2,000 students.
In that case, or any other, Cole will at least have the services of pitching ace Ryan Devine, a sidearm-throwing right-hander who is 8-1 and has allowed just nine runs all season. That’s because the trio of E.A. Woolwine, Andrew Barrow and Adam Slyter shut out King’s Fork (14-7) by scattering six hits.
The Bulldogs put runners in scoring position each of the first three innings, but good defense bailed out the Eagles. After King’s Fork put the first two men on in the top of the second, first baseman Michael Schmidt made a nice play on a bunt to get an out, second baseman Devine did likewise on a grounder to get an out, and Woolwine used a breaking ball to get a strikeout.
Matt Lansford used his quick reflexes on a grounder at shortstop to start a double play in the third after the Bulldogs again put the first two batters on base. By then, the Eagles already led 2-0, having scored their first runs in the bottom of the second thanks to four free passes (three walks and a hit batter) and Cole Tross’ infield single.
The Eagles’ bats, and Spencer Pietruszynski’s bat in particular, came alive in the bottom of the third. Pietruszynski’s opposite-field double to right scored two runs, and Tross followed with a run-scoring double to center to increase the Eagles’ lead to 5-0.
Pietruszynski doubled again in the next two innings to drive in runs. He followed Kevin Mooney’s two-run double in the Eagles’ five-run fourth by driving in Mooney with a double to left. He doubled again to left field in the fifth to plate two more runs and give the Eagles a 12-0 lead.
“I felt like I had a pretty good two-strike approach,” said Pietruszynski, who cracked two of his doubles with two strikes. “A two-strike approach is a big thing here because when you’re battling and they throw a curveball, you can fight another day.
“With two strikes, (the goal) is just to put the ball in play, barrel it up, make sure I get a good pitch to hit and make sure I don’t swing (at) any balls.”
Barrow was the best of the Eagles’ three pitchers, striking out four of the six batters he faced in not allowing a baserunner. Cole said Barrow has been throwing like that since the Eagles’ four-hour win over Grassfield in April.
“He gutted it out in that 8-7 marathon we went through here with lightning blaze and lights-out delays,” Cole said. “He really grew up that day on the mound.
“He competed, and that’s a very good offensive team.”
Jamestown is, too, but it will take another all-around effort to earn the state berth. The Eagles are ready.
“It’s a great chance,” Pietruszynski said of playing for a return state semifinal berth. “We lost last year (in the state semifinals) on a walkoff (to Liberty Christian), and it’s a great experience.”
JAMESTOWN 12, KING’S FORK 0
King’s Fork 000 000 0— 0 6 3
Jamestown 023 520 x—12 10 0
WP: Woolwine (4-1). LP: Brown. Standouts: King’s Fork, Marrero 2-2; Jamestown, Pietruszynski 3-3 (3 doubles, 5 RBI), Tross 2-3, Pegram 2-4 double (2 RBI). Record: Jamestown 20-2.
O'Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963.