By RICH KELLY
For the Star Beacon
In a rematch from a previous game played earlier this week in which Grand Valley came out on top, the Jefferson 10-11 boys knew they had to play a solid game.
Using a six-run fourth inning and a triple play to end the contest Friday night at Orwell Community Park, Jefferson took the rematch with Grand Valley 11-7 setting the stage for an 11 a.m. title game today on the same field.
“Things have been going pretty well for us this week offensively,” Jefferson manager Rick Park said. “Defense came up big several times, too, but the kids, for this age group, have done a nice job. In our game with Madison this week, they hit the ball 20 times but were only able to score six runs. Everybody has contributed either at bat or with solid plays defensively.”
The first two innings were not sharp for either team as both tallied four times in the second inning to cancel out a 2-1 Grand Valley first-inning lead.
After both Clayton Takacs of Grand Valley and Nathan Jacobs of Jefferson struck out the side in the third, Alex Forristal led off the fourth for Jefferson with a grounder to center for a single.
A walk and single loaded the bases for Brandon Park, and he promptly unloaded them with a sharp grounder that found open space in right center for a double. Grand Valley reliever Scott Ellsworth gave up a one-out double to Mike Hamski, and the only two errors of the game for GV followed, plating the last two runs of the game for Jefferson.
It was enough for the win.
“The key thing for us tonight is that these kids never give up when they are down,” Grand Valley manager Ray Busser said. “We had some big plays on defense, and our catcher especially settled in and did a nice job of catching the ball. That slowed down their running game a lot. All I can say is that the kids really played hard.”
Down 11-6 after four, Grand Valley tried to come back, but regaining the momentum proved to be too much to pull off.
Ellsworth ripped a home run to left leading the bottom of the fifth. His line drive hooked away from a diving left fielder Jason Mayes, setting the stage for a photo finish.
Jefferson’s sixth featured a double play to start the stellar defensive ending to the game.
With a runner on third and no outs, Zach Forristal lined a shot to center. Logan Newell caught the ball and fired a strike to home plate for the double play, and Grand Valley had a shot in the arm they needed if they were to rally.
After Ellsworth fanned a pair to end the seventh with runners on second and third and only one out, Grand Valley came out on fire in the bottom of the seventh.
Brad Busser lined a single to right, and Orion Klingensmith sent a smash toward short that handcuffed the shortstop for an error.
Up stepped Clayton Takacs, and he lined a ball back at Forristal. His toss to first nipped Klingensmith for a double play, and in all the confusion on where to throw the ball next, Busser strayed too far from second and Brandon Park ran to second and touched the bag to complete a wild triple play to end the game.
Kelly is a freelance writer from Jefferson
Click here to subscribe to The Star Beacon print edition.
Click here to subscribe to The Star Beacon replica edition.