A win against a program rich with baseball tradition such as Cedar Rapids Kennedy is tough. Two wins is even tougher, and a win at Kennedy is not seen too often. The Jefferson J-Hawks, coming off of a 4-0 win on Monday night against the Cougars, expected a tougher showing from Kennedy and they got it.
The J-Hawks took the lead early aided by back to back doubles by Tyler Roeder and Spencer Van Scoyoc, scoring one. Manny Olutunde was clutch all night and began with a single up the middle to plate another. Kennedy would put on the pressure and test the J-Hawks from the beginning.
Senior Tyler Konigsmark started the game, driven by memories of the walkoff loss to Kennedy earlier in the season in the Metro Tournament Championship in which he took the loss. Throughout the night, Konigsmark worked through trouble and stayed confident on the mound. Last year's 4A player of the year Zach Daniels led off with a single and found his way to third base. With runners on first and third, the Kennedy cleanup hitter hit a soft line drive back at Konigsmark. The senior caught it and was able to throw quickly over to third to catch Daniels off base for a big doubleplay. The second inning was much of the same, as Kennedy loaded the bases with two outs thanks in part to an error, single, and a walk. Usually a recipe for disaster, the J-Hawks worked out of it and came away unscathed. In the third, two of the top Kennedy hitters would find their way on base and scratch a run across. Three consecutive groundballs to senior shortstop Lucas Larson were fielded and taken care of for three outs, but the Cougars would plate one more during the inning. Tied at two, the game took on a true feel of a substate matchup with little room for error. Kennedy would threaten again in the fourth, this time with a leadoff single and the runner moving to third. Two groundballs to the right side and a final deep flyout ended the threat again.
The fifth inning would prove to be pivotal as the J-Hawks grabbed the lead and the momentum. A new pitcher entered the game for Kennedy, and the tough lefty sat down the first two hitters. Van Scoyoc, who in the past had been intentionally walked several times by the Cougars, smoked another double down the line. Larson would be hit by a pitch to put runners on second and third. Fortunately, Olutunde was the next in line with a bat. On a 2-2 count, Olutunde rapped another line drive single up the middle past the second baseman. One run easily scored, but the play was not over. As the ball went into centerfield, Larson aggresively turned his way to thirdbase drawing a throw from centerfield. Larson slid and would be safe, but the ball skipped off the thirdbaseman and rolled slowly down the thirdbase line. No fielder was in the area to go after the ball. Larson would pop up and scamper his way to home while avoiding the ball to score a big run for the J-Hawks.
Jefferson tacked on in the top of the sixth as well. After two strikeouts in his first two at-bats, Brayden Frazier slammed a double to right-center. His older brother Cam Frazier paired up with another sharp linedrive double to rightfield scoring Brayden. Colton Knox sacrificed Cam over and Jared Eivins hit a sacrifice fly for the J-Hawks 6th and final run.
Kennedy would not make it easy on the J-Hawks. A leadoff double in the bottom of the fifth followed by a pass ball put a runner on thirdbase with no outs. Konigsmark was crafty, forcing both Kennedy's three and four hole hitters to ground out to thirdbaseman Jared Eivins which kept the runner stuck at third. He finished off the inning forcing a groundball to secondbase to escape once again. Konigsmark would surrender a single in the sixth before he would be lifted for a relief pitcher. The senior earned the win throwing 5 innings, striking out two, scattering 6 hits and giving up only 2 runs.
Jarred Wood entered the game in the biggest spot of his Varsity career yet. With a runner on firstbase, he would force a tailor-made 4-6-3 beautifully turned doubleplay to end the threat. He would shine in the seventh as well. He struck out the first batter of the inning. After giving up a walk, he forced the next hitter to flyout to centerfield. Wood finished the game by fielding a groundball up the middle and tossing it over to first for the final out. He threw 2 innings of scoreless baseball to shut the door.
With the win, the J-Hawks improved to 26-6 overall and 18-4 in MVC conference play. The J-Hawks must continue to build on the momentum as they face Davenport North at home Wednesday in a JV/V doubleheader with JV beginning at 5:00. This is the final JV game of the season.