JAMES CITY — Jamestown High got a close-up look Saturday at what a state championship baseball program looks like. Hanover provided the display in beating the Eagles 11-0 to win the Group 4A East Region championship at Jamestown.
However, both teams advanced to the state semifinals at Liberty University in Lynchburg. Hanover (22-1) will play its state semi at 3 p.m. Friday against the loser of Monday’s West Region final between Liberty Christian Academy and Kettle Run.
Jamestown will take the field at Liberty at 6 p.m. Friday against the West Region champion. Should it win, its state championship-game opponent could be Hanover, which is in search of its third state title in four seasons.
The Eagles, at least, would enter that game with first-hand knowledge of the challenge they’d face. Asked what impressed him about the Hawks, Jamestown coach John Cole said “everything.”
“They’re athletic, they’re deep on the mound, they’re not going to beat themselves, they have an outstanding running game, they know how to pressure you and you’d better be able to handle it,” Cole said. “I think we were prepared, but we made some bad decisions today. They did a pretty good job putting the ball in play with two strikes. They really did.”
“Our guys are full-time (baseball players),” Hanover coach Charlie Dragum said. “We try to get them to train all the time, and I think that helps. Our game on offense is moving runners and running the bases. When we put people on their heels, it really plays into our advantage.”
Jamestown starting pitcher Ryan Devine, who lost for the first time this season, retired the Hawks in order in the first inning but, thereafter, he and his teammates were on their heels. His troubles started in the top of the second when he hit Hawks pitcher Grey Lyttle on a 1-2 count.
Then, Hayden Moore doubled down the third-base line to move Brian Sisson, Lyttle’s pinch runner, to third base. Nolan Caler drove them in with a double down the left-field line to make it 2-0.
Hanover blew the game open in the top of the third with four runs on four hits off of Devine (9-1). The Hawks also benefited from two Jamestown errors, the first a botched pickoff attempt that allowed Jack Dragum. who led off the inning with a single, to score.
Moore bashed his second run-scoring double, while Lyttle and Jacob Weis had run-scoring singles to make it 6-0 in the third. The Hawks’ next two runs were of the variety Dragum described. They managed just one hit in the fourth inning, but used three walks, three stolen bases and two wild pitches to increase their lead to 8-0.
The Eagles got to Hanover’s three pitchers for only three hits and two walks, and never had two runners in an inning. Jamestown never even put a runner in scoring position, ensuring its 20-game win streak would end, although its season did not.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve lost a ballgame,” said Cole, whose Eagles last fell March 22 to Lafayette. “It’s a shame to get manhandled like that, but (Hanover) can do that to you.
“You hope you can make some adjustments, which we can, and get that one more shot at them when it really means something,” Cole continued. “It’s a good thing we got a mulligan today.”
HANOVER 11, JAMESTOWN 0
Hanover 024 230 0 — 11 9 0
Jamestown 000 000 0 — 0 3 3
WP: Lyttle. LP: Devine (9-1). Standouts: Hanover, Moore 2-4 (2 doubles, 1 RBI), Caler 2-3 (2 doubles, 2 RBI). Records: Hanover 22-1, Jamestown 22-2.
HANOVER 14, LAFAYETTE 3
Hanover earned its state tournament berth late Friday with a weather-delayed 14-3 home win over Lafayette in a 4A East semifinal. Lafayette, the 3A state champion a year ago before moving up to 4A, finished its season at 17-6.
Luc Lipcius, who hit the winning home run in the 3A state final in 2015, hit a two-run homer in the top of the first to give Lafayette an early lead. The Hawks rolled from there as Gregory had two hits and two RBI, while Hunter Marshall drove in four runs.
O'Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963.