On April 6, members of the Jackson baseball team’s dreams came true when the Indians stepped on to the field at Busch Stadium not as fans, but as players.
Jackson (11-5) would have done this the day before following the St. Louis Cardinals game versus the Chicago Cubs, but the games were rained out and postponed to the following day.
The Indians faced the St. Louis Patriots on the windy Thursday evening in St. Louis about half an hour after the Cubs defeated the Cardinals 6-4 to win the series 2-1.
Calling the game and announcing each varsity player before the first pitch was the Cardinals public-address announcer John Ulett, who has held the position for the past 33 years.
Head coach Bryan Austin mentioned after the game that this contest was about the experience, and with a full nine innings played, his team got just that.
Jackson was the home team in the game, so senior Drew Brown and the Indians defense took the field to start things out.
Brown walked the first batter, but he was able to retire two straight via strike outs before walking another.
Brown threw a total of 20 pitches up to that point, and the final batter popped up his 27th pitch into center field where senior Tyler Knight caught the ball for the final out of the inning.
Junior Cole Welker was the first man up for Jackson, hitting a shot into left field caught for an out.
Senior Jarrett Newell was up to bat next, and he got the first hit of the game on a grounder to left field for a single.
Senior Braeden Dobbs hit another ball to left field for an out, which brought up senior Colten Weber to bat with two outs and Newell on base.
On his first pitch, Weber popped the ball up in the air, which bounced in front of the right fielder. The ball was in the air long enough to bring Newell home for Jackson’s first score of the game.
The man who came home for Jackson in the first inning was the same man who replaced Brown in the second inning on the mound.
Newell walked his first batter but struck out the next one and had a quick inning in the top of the second to hold the Patriots to zero hits and runs.
The Patriots replaced their starting pitcher second inning.
St. Louis’ new pitcher walked Knight after Brown hit a fly ball to center field for the first out of the inning.
The Patriots pitcher struck out senior Will Winingar for out number two but allowed Knight to steal second base after the first strike.
This allowed Knight to find home plate after Welker hit a line driver into left field for a single to give Jackson a 2-0 lead over St. Louis in the second inning.
Following that inning, Newell and the Indians defense continued to make quick work of St. Louis in the third inning.
Jackson did so by ending the top of the inning with a double play from a catch for an out and throw to first base for the final out by senior right fielder Quentin Kent.
In the bottom of the third, Weber got on base once again with a single past shortstop bringing up junior Justice Crosnoe to bat.
Crosnoe was able to get his first hit at Busch Stadium by sending Weber home for Jackson’s third run of the day off a bomb to left field for a double before he was thrown out at third base.
Jackson led St. Louis 3-0 after three innings, and the Patriots went out 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth inning to remain scoreless and without a hit in the game.
The Indians went scoreless in the fourth inning as well without a hit, but they got the Patriots out 1-2-3 again to start the fifth inning.
The next inning started out with Newell getting walked, which brought junior Carson Barnes to have his first at bat in the game.
Barnes singled with a hit to right field to have two men on base for Jackson in the bottom of the fifth with no outs.
Weber lined the ball to left field for an out on Jackson’s next at bat.
Crosnoe was up next to bat. He bunted the ball to advance the runners to second and third, but also managed to get on first base with a hard sprint to the plate to load the bases.
Jackson ended the inning with no runs and stranded two of the runners for another scoreless inning.
Newell was taken out of the game in the sixth inning after pitching four innings for no runs or hits with three strike outs with Dobbs replacing him.
The top of the inning is when St. Louis had its first hit of the game, which was a double after getting out number one.
Dobbs walked the next batter, and the bases were then loaded after a line-drive single to left field.
Dobbs was able to get out of the inning by striking out the next batter and having the final batter pop the ball up for an out in foul territory.
The Indians scored their fourth run in the bottom of the sixth when senior Landen Pehle sent Welker home from second base to make it 4-0 Jackson.
Dobbs walked one and struck out one in his final inning on the mound in the seventh, but did not allow another hit.
Sophomore Tyler Martin came in for Dobbs in the eighth and only allowed one man on base for the Patriots with a walk in the ninth and had three strike outs.
In the bottom of the seventh inning is where Jackson scored its fifth and final run of the game when Brown sent Crosnoe home on a sacrifice fly to right field.
Crosnoe, who had a team and game-high three hits, currently leads Jackson in batting average [.417] and runners batted in .
Following this game, Jackson hosted Kennett and out-of-state Dyersburg [Tennessee] in a double header Saturday.
The Indians came out 2-0 to advance to 11-5 overall with a 12-3 win over Kennett and a 8-0 win over Dyersburg.
Jackson faces crosstown rival Cape Central Tuesday, April 11, on the road to start play this week. The Indians will travel north on I-55 to Farmington where they will face Farmington at 10 a.m. then Seckman at noon.