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High School Baseball: Jackson downs Kelly 25-0 in season opener

The Jackson baseball team started its 2017 season the same
way it started 2016, which was with a marginal win over Class 3 Kelly.

Jackson beat the Hawks 10-0 in last year’s season opener at home, but it only
took the Indians three innings to get to 10 runs in this year’s game.

The Indians scored their 10th run of the game when leadoff hitter junior Cole
Welker, who batted second in the third inning, sent senior Will Winingar home
off his second triple of the game.

Following Welker’s triple, senior Jarrett Newell hit a double to send Welker home,
and then senior Braeden Dobbs hit a triple to send Newell home to make it 12-0.

Dobbs was sent home following his at bat by fellow senior Colten Weber with a
triple of his own to make it a 13-0 lead for Jackson.

Weber’s teammate from the fall on Jackson’s soccer team, junior Justice
Crosnoe, hit a line drive for a single between second and third to send Colten
home giving Jackson a 14-0 lead.

The Indians scored one more run before having their first out of the inning and
only strike out of the game, but they managed to score seven more runs to go up
22-0 heading into the fourth inning.

“In my coaching career, I have not seen that as a start,” head coach Bryan
Austin said. “So, that really proves some things that we are doing are working.

“To strike out one time in a baseball game is fantastic, especially on March 17
— opening day of the season. That’s really good that we are seeing the baseball
that well. Hopefully we can continue that.”

Coach Austin went on to say it was “something” to see his team score 13 runs in
one inning because he mentioned players sometimes become complacent when their
team has scored many runs in one inning.

Each player on the varsity roster had a chance to bat in the game, thanks to
scoring early and often, which led the Indians to have a total of 29 hits in
the game.

“We feel that we play the best at home, which we should be, and we enjoy all
the people that come out,” Coach Austin said. “We are carrying some momentum
going into [facing Gosnell].”

Coach Austin was also impressed by his team defensively with having no errors
in the game since he said the team’s pregame was “absolutely brutal.”

Jackson cleaned things up defensively for the game, and senior Drew Brown had a
day on the mound that every defense hopes for.

Brown had eight strikeouts, allowed one hit and walked one batter through three

“Drew Brown did a fantastic job on the mound,” Coach Austin said. “He was
locating three pitches at the knees — it was very effective. He could’ve been
out there for two more innings, but we chose to get some young guys some work,
keep their numbers low and save some guys for [Gosnell].”

Jackson fans also saw the team’s first home run of the season, which was hit by
Newell over the left field wall in the bottom of the fourth.

“Just to see the amount of balls [Newell] hit hard — knowing that that’s our
goal,” Coach Austin said. “Knowing that’s all we can control is how hard we
hit. You really can’t control the outcome, and seeing our kids do that was very

Last season as a junior, Newell broke the program’s single-season hits record
with 42 on the year breaking the previous record of 37 hits set in 2015.

Newell had 35 hits in his sophomore season when former Indian Ryan Harvey set
the record at 37.

Another player who broke one of Jackson’s single-season records last season,
the strikeout record (89), Weber, started at catcher.

Weber was Jackson’s starting catcher for the majority of the season during his
sophomore season.

“[Weber] is very versatile,” Coach Austin said. “Obviously he is one of our top
arms, but he’s also fantastic behind the plate, and he’s also very good at
third base. The key is right now we have athletes that can move to different

“That’s why we can move a lot of different people into a baseball game because
we feel we are pretty athletic and are able to do that, and not log jammed at
only one position. So, that’s a good thing about our roster.”

Following Friday’s game, Jackson was scheduled to travel to play Gosnell in Arkansas
starting at noon in a double header.

Rain was in the forecast where the games were to be played, so Gosnell traveled
to Jackson instead.

Gosnell had already played six games before facing Jackson holding a 5-1
record, and the Indians split the series to advance to 2-1 overall to start the

Jackson fell to the Pirates in the first game of the series 6-4, but the
Indians rallied in the second game of the double header to defeat Gosnell 17-1.

Before playing in the first tournament of the season, the Midwest Classic
starting on Monday at St. Charles, Jackson will host Doniphan and then head
down I-55 to face conference rival Sikeston.

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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