Prep Baseball Report

LCA Comes Back Three Times to Beat Jamestown

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By John Nolan
Assistant Director of Scouting/Content Management 

Lynchburg-A gorgeous June evening saw Liberty University play host to the second 4A State semifinal between No. 5 Jamestown and No. 2 Liberty Christian Academy. The Bulldogs are the 4A West region champions and Jamestown was the 4A East runners-up. Both teams turned to their highly-touted senior aces, Kent Klyman (North Carolina State) for Jamestown and Zach Hess (Louisiana State) for Liberty Christian.

Hess started the game off with a pair of strikeouts and then issued a walk to centerfielder Evan Lowery (Navy). Lowery advanced to second when a Hess pickoff attempt got away at first. He then moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Michael Schmidt’s double to right center to give Jamestown a 1-0 lead after the top of the first.

In the bottom of the first, LCA shortstop Garret Price (Liberty) reached to lead the inning off with a bunt single. Richard De La Cruz sacrificed him to second and catcher Wes Clarke was walked to put two on for the Bulldogs. Junior rightfielder Pearce Howard singled left and drove in Price to tie the game. Hess grounded into a double play and the inning ended with a 1-1 tie.

Both pitchers worked scoreless second innings. Hess got around a leadoff bunt single when Clarke threw the runner out trying to steal second. Klyman allowed a single to Kyle Horton (Liberty) but no further damage. For velocities and scouting information on this game, check the Virginia/DC Scout Blog next week.

In the top of the third, Noah Scruggs drew a walk to start the inning for Jamestown. After a strikeout, Roger Romero reached on an error, putting runners on second and third. On an odd play, Scruggs scored on a wild pitch, Clarke’s throw back to Hess got by him, and Romero tried to score from second, only to be tagged out at the plate. Jamestown led 2-1 headed to the bottom of third.

In the bottom of the third, Price again got things going with a single, this time to right field. De La Cruz reached on an error and advanced to second on a wild pitch, putting two in scoring position for LCA with no outs. Clarke hit a grounder to short to drive in Price and tie the game. Klyman was able to get a comebacker and a strikeout to end the threat at that point.

Jamestown got right back to work in the top of the fourth as Schmidt was hit by a pitch and Klyman singled to left. Andrew Barrow dropped a sacrifice bunt and first baseman Austin Roach slipped fell trying to make the play, loading the bases with no outs. After a strikeout for the first out, Matt Lansford hit a ball to right field that should have gone for a sacrifice fly, but was dropped, allowing a run to score and leaving the bases loaded. Scruggs then hustled on a grounder to short to beat out the double play relay and driving in another run in the process. Scruggs then attempted to get into a rundown on a first and third play and was tagged out before the run could score, ending the inning with Jamestown holding a 4-2 lead.

The bottom of the fourth inning was the first perfect inning thrown by either pitcher, as Klyman got LCA in order. Hess allowed a booming double off of the top of the right-centerfield fence to Lowery with two outs, but ended the threat there.

In the bottom of the fifth, Klyman appeared to have fired another perfect inning when he got De La Cruz to pop up on the infield with two outs, but the ball fell in for hit after the infielders lost it. Clarke came up and boomed a double off of the base of the left-centerfield fence, driving in De La Cruz and cutting the deficit to 4-3. That brought up Howard with a chance to tie the game for a second time, and he delivered with a single to right. The throw home beat the runner, but the Jamestown catcher could not get a handle on it and the game was tied again after five.

Hess got his first three-up, three-down inning in the top of the sixth. Klyman gave up a two out double to Noah Cook (VMI) in the bottom of the sixth, but the inning ended with a strikeout. Hess issued a walk to Scruggs in the top of the seventh, but Clarke picked him off when he slipped getting his secondary. The game remained tied at four headed to the bottom of the seventh inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, Price flew out to right to start the inning, but De La Cruz rolled a single through the middle. Kylman had a pickoff throw get away at first, sending the winning run down to second base. Clarke was intentionally walked to set up the double play. Howard popped up on the infield for the second out, bringing up Hess. After an extended at-bat and working the count full, Hess lined a base hit to right center, driving in De La Cruz and sending Liberty Christian to the State Championship game with a 5-4 win.

For Jamestown, Kylman took the loss, going 6 2/3 IP, 5 R, 10 H, 2 BB, 5 K while also adding a 1-3 day at the plate with a run. Lowery went 1-2 with a BB, 3B, and a run. Schmidt went 1-2 with a 2B, R, and an RBI. Andrew Barrow went 2-3. Scruggs was 0-1 with 2 BB, R, and an RBI.

For LCA, Hess was the winner, going 7 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 3 BB, 11 K, while adding 1-4 with an RBI at the dish. Price was 2-4 with 2 R. De La Cruz was 2-3 with 2 R. Clarke was 1-2 with a run, 2 RBI, and a 2B. Howard was 2-4 with 2 RBI. Horton was 1-3 and Cook was 1-3.


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