Taking advantage of eight walks and a hit batter in the first three innings, Covenant Christian staked out an 8-0 start on Tuesday and held off a mid-game rally by Cascade, as the Warriors captured the Class 2A Sectional 44 baseball title.
With the lead shrunk to 8-7, the Warriors had nervous moments for relief pitcher Evan Jackman, as the Cadets loaded the bases in the sixth and put the tying run at third base in the seventh. In both innings, Jackman came up with strikeouts and escaped without giving up a run, as he took out Ty Comer (in the sixth) and Schuyler Hart (seventh) when needed most.
Covenant coach Andy Gossel admitted he felt fortunate to get the final out.
“Cascade just kept fighting and battling and coming back,” Gossel said. “We just had to hang on. (Jackman) struggled with his command early, but he made quality pitches when he needed to.”
Cascade coach Jason Thompson saw his team go through the depths, and then nearly pull out a win.
“There was not one thing that lost us this game,” Thompson said. “There were multiple things that could have gone a different way, but that is how baseball goes. Sometimes you get the hit, and sometimes you don’t.”
The Warriors put up four runs in the first and four more in the third, as they took advantage of control problems for Cascade starting pitcher Nate Stonebraker.
The initial Covenant outburst started from walks to the first three batters, before designated hitter Steven Watson struck a blow with a two-run single and Ethan Law plated another with a sacrifice fly.
The Warriors added a second four-run inning in the third, as Caleb Keehner doubled for an RBI and Jake LaBounty singled home another run, while a walk and an error yielded two more scores.