Inside-the-park homer drives Jacks past Prosser Mustangs
Continuing a string of competitive games, the Quincy Jacks beat the Prosser Mustangs 10-7 Tuesday night at home.
The win against the Mustangs followed in the footsteps of a 1-0 loss in the first game of a road doubleheader against East Valley-Yakima and an 8-7 nonleague loss in Ephrata to west-side visitors North Mason Bulldogs.
Both losses unfolded in the bottom of the seventh inning, with the East Valley-Yakima Red Devils breaking a 0-0 tie and the Bulldogs snatching a see-saw contest against the Jacks with a two-out grounder into right centerfield that snuck between an infielder’s legs.
“I thought we played two of our better games against East Valley,” head coach Andy Harris said. “We could have won that first one.”
Against the Mustangs, the story was different from the start, with the Jacks jumping to early 2-0 and 6-2 leads.
The coup de grâce came in the fifth, when Kade Schutzmann drove the ball deep into right field and rushed around the bases for a two-run, inside-the-park home run that gave the Jacks a 9-3 lead.
“It’s nice when you have a guy like Kade who can run,” Harris said. “He hit that ball really well, then he flew around the bases, and we decided to put some pressure on ‘em, and see if they could make the throw.”
With crisper fielding than in past games, and behind a stout pitching performance by starter Cody Kehl and reliever Andrew Escalante, the Jacks kept the stubborn Mustangs at bay despite a bases-loaded threat by the Mustangs.
Kehl walked the first three batters and hit the fourth, scoring one run for the Mustangs. The Jacks stuck by Kehl and he weathered the storm despite surrendering three more runs before finally yielding the mound to Escalante.
The wild-haired reliever proved anything but wild, getting the third out of the sixth inning on one pitch and then closing out an unscathed seventh frame on two groundouts and a strikeout.
“Prosser fights, man,” Harris said, “I was really proud of the guys, they didn’t give up and really cool to see Andrew Escalante, who struggled with location against Prosser the last time, just come out and pitch great those last two innings.”
The team is “starting to find it” a little bit, Harris said.
“We have had a really tough schedule to start the year and they have battled through that schedule,” Harris said. “If we can put it together like we are capable, we have a chance to make a run.”
Against Prosser, Schutzmann went 1-for-3 with a homer, a walk and three runs scored.
Doug Tobin went 2-for-3 with a walk and four runs scored. Kehl went 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and two runs batted in. Gage Stephens went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.
Noah Tarango went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Daniel Chavez had two stolen bases.
On the mound, Kehl pitched five and two-thirds innings with six strikeouts, four walks, four earned runs and three unearned.
Escalante pitched an inning and one-third, giving up no runs and striking out one.
On the first game of the East Valley doubleheader, Tobin pitched six innings, giving up no runs on four hits and four walks with eight strikeouts. He also went 2-for-3 at the plate. Klayten Northup went 1-for-3 with a double.
In the second game of the doubleheader against the Red Devils, which East Valley won 10-4, Schutzmann pitched four innings, giving up three earned runs on three hits with five walks and three strikeouts. Kehl pitched two innings, giving up three earned runs. Schutzman went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Gage Stephens had three RBIs.
By Sebastian Moraga, email@example.com