With every game, Jeff Davis High School’s baseball team is beginning to look like a team of destiny.
Tuesday afternoon at Yellow Jacket stadium, the Jackets scored an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh inning to break a scoreless tie and escape with a 1-0 win over Callaway to win their semifinals and advance to the state championship series.
They’ll play the first game of a 3-game championship series against The Lovett School this Saturday at 5 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Savannah.
The Jackets and Cavaliers split the first two games of the week’s series Monday, withy Callaway winning the opener 4-0 and the Jackets winning the second game 3-0.
For Tuesday’s finale, freshman Duke Stone got the second playoff start of his young career and threw a classic. He gave up only three harmless hits, walked three and struck out seven.
With the exception of a Cav runner reaching base on a first inning error, Stone retired Callaway in order through three innings. He gave up a lead-off single in the fourth but second baseman Ethan Hulett fielded a soft liner and doubled up the runner at first to snuff that threat.
The sixth may have been Stone’s best inning as he faced three straight pressure-packed at bats. He threw three straight balls to the first batter, then threw three straight strikes to the batter who never got the bat off his shoulder. Stone followed that with a swinging strikeout on a 3-2 count and then got the next batter to look at a strike on another 3-2 count.
In the bottom of the seventh, Cam Williams walked to start the inning and Cole Baucom came on as a pinch runner. An out later, Ethan Hulett was hit by a pitch on a 3-0 count but the umpire ruled he leaned into the pitch and called it a strike. Hulett responded by hitting a high bouncer over third base for a single.
Cade Walters stepped to the plate with two outs and Baucom and Hulett on second and first. A passed ball moved the runners to second and third and Walters hit a grounder to short and was safe at first on a throwing error as Baucom came home with the winning run.
Hamp Hayes’ double in game 3 was the only Jacket extra base hit in the series. Trenton Clance, Matthew White, Williams and Hulett each had a single. Walters, Conner Rea and Matthew Glass all had sacrifices.
The defense came to Stone’s rescue several times as Walters made a pair of highlight reel worthy, diving catches in center, shortstop Trenton Clance came up with a pair of defensive gems, Ethan Griffin made an over-the-shoulder catch on the warning track in left and Rea made a running catch and throw on a slow roller toward third that barely nipped the runner at first.
In the opener, Jacket starter White and Cavalier starter Tucker Starling engaged in a classic pitchers duel through five innings. Entering the sixth inning, White had given up only one hit, a harmless, 2-out single in the fourth, and Starling had scattered lone singles in three different innings.
But the wheels came off for White in the top of the sixth as an error put the Cavs’ lead-off batter on first. A walk and a single loaded the bases and another single put Callaway on the scoreboard and left the bases loaded with still no one out.
That brought Jacket Coach Paul Glass out of the dugout to call on freshman reliever Alex Mason to stop the uprising. But the Cavs greeted Mason with a squeeze play that upped the tally to 2-0. A 2-run double then upped the score to 4-0. Right fielder Cade Walters put an end to things, catching a liner and doubling up the runner at second.
But the damage was done.
Griffin led off the bottom of the inning with a single but was quickly erased by a double play. In the seventh, Cam Williams reached on an error to start the inning and two outs later, Cason Clance was hit by a pitch to put two runners on but a strikeout stopped the comeback attempt.
The Jackets managed only four hits, all singles, by Trenton Clance, Griffin, Glass and Cason Clance. Hulett had a sacrifice bunt and Walters added a stolen base.
White took the loss. He threw five innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits, walking three and striking out four. Mason pitched the final two innings, blanking Callaway on two hits, no walks and no strikeouts.
In the second game, the Jackets got all the runs they needed in the first inning as starting pitcher Baucom and Mason blanked the Cavaliers on seven hits and the defense played with only one harmless error.
The Jacket offense was limited to five hits, all singles. Four of those singles came in the first two innings and two were bunt singles in the first.
With the Jackets playing as the visiting team, Trenton Clance opened the game with a liner to right. Walters and Griffin followed with sacrifice bunt attempts that turned into singles as both reached first to load the bases. Hayes then drew a four pitch walk and the Jackets had a 1-0 lead. White followed with a sacrifice fly to right to score Walters and make it 2-0.
The Cavs threatened in the bottom of the inning with a trio of singles to load the bases with two out. But Baucom struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Rea opened the second with a walk and took second as Hulett was safe on an error. Trenton Clance’s sacrifice bunt put the runners on second and third and Walters followed with a run-scoring single to put JD up 3-0.
Over the last five innings, the Jackets got only one hit, a two out single by Trenton Clance in the sixth.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Baucom yielded a double sandwiched by a pair of strikeouts and reached his 110 pitch limit. Glass called on Mason who struck out the last batter looking on a 3-2 count to earn a save.
Trenton Clance and Walters both had a pair of singles with Walters picking up an RBI. Griffin singled and Hayes and White both had an RBI. Hulett had two sacrifice bunts, Trenton Clance had one and White had a sacrifice fly. Walters got the game’s only stolen base.
Score by innings:
CHS 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 -4
JDHS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0
JDHS 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 -3
CHS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0
CHS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0
JDHS 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 -1