Adam Lloyd said he was supposed to take a pitch when he stepped to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning of Kennedy's baseball game Monday night against Jefferson.
"In the heat of the moment I thought I'd take a hack at it," Lloyd said, discounting the possibility of failure. "I still had two more strikes left."
He didn't need them.
Lloyd's single plated Cody Bell with the winning run and the No. 2 Cougars escaped the upset-minded J-Hawks, 9-8, in a Mississippi Valley Conference game at Kennedy.
Kennedy (25-4, 18-4) rallied from 5-1 and 7-5 deficits to win the game. But Coach Bret Hoyer was not happy with the Cougars' performance.
"We had some individuals who did a nice job, but collectively we're not doing the job right now," Hoyer said.
Hoyer was displeased with his team for the mental errors they have made, especially with the start of the substate tournament just 11 days away. He said the Cougars have been fortunate to win two of three games in splitting a doubleheader last week against Iowa City High and beating Jefferson on Monday.
"We're not executing in pitching, not making pitches when we have to. We're not making routine plays and we're not executing on offense either," he said. "We won two of three, but this team can't be content with winning two of three. We have a lot more ability than we're showing and if we're going to be content with winning two of three, we have some problems that we as coaches have to get turned around."
Jefferson (14-18, 12-11) scored five runs in the top of the third to erase a 1-0 Kennedy lead. Christian Knox had an RBI double, Layne Sullivan a run-scoring single and Colten Jourdan a two-run double for the J-Hawks.
But the game was far from over.
"Good teams chip away," Jefferson Coach Mike Kuba said. "It would have been naive for us to think they would not climb back into the ballgame."
Climb the Cougars did, scoring four runs in the bottom of the third to tie the game, 5-5. Logan Ambrosy belted a two-run home run and Zach Johnson had an RBI single.
"That was big," said Bell, who had four of the Cougars' 15 hits and scored three runs. "We didn't want to let them take control of the game. We knew if we stayed close we could strike at the end. We're a good late-inning team."
Chance Tiedtke, who had three of Jefferson's 12 hits, laced an RBI double in the fourth that put the J-Hawks back on top, 6-5. They added a run in the fifth on Jourdan's sacrifice fly for a 7-5 lead.
"I was impressed with the way Jefferson hit the ball," Hoyer said. "They put pressure on us and made us make plays, and we didn't make them. It's frustrating."
Kennedy made enough plays, though. The Cougars knotted the score in the bottom of the sixth. Derek Jacobus beat out a one-out bunt single and Bell doubled him to third. A balk scored Jacobus and sent Bell to third base and the latter scored on a sacrifice fly by Devon Jacobus.
Jefferson reclaimed the lead in the top of the seventh on a one-out, base-loaded squeeze bunt by Dylan Jellison.
But Kennedy tied the game back up in the bottom of the seventh on Josh Jahlas' two-out RBI single.
Lloyd, who pitched the final four innings, set Jefferson down in order in the top of the eighth. It was the only time the J-Hawks went down 1-2-3 in the game.
Bell singled leading off the Kennedy eighth. A wild pitch, strikeout, intentional walk and groundout put Cougars at second and third with two outs. Jimmy Lizarraga walked to load the bases and Lloyd strode to the plate.
It was a senior against Jefferson eighth grader Spencer Van Scoyoc, who came into the game in the top of the eighth as the J-Hawks' fourth pitcher.
"He had just walked some guys, so I figured he'd come back with a fastball," said Lloyd, who lined an opposite-field single to right for the game winner.
The teams play again Tuesday night at Jefferson in a sophomore/varsity doubleheader that begins at 5 p.m.
"We need to get right back at it," Kuba said. "We can't be all gloom and doom."
Jefferson played without shortstop Ky Kramer, who was away because of a death in the family. He is expected back for Tuesday's game. Jordan Dee and Austin Goodell also were injured during the game. Dee injured his wrist sliding and Goodell took a foul ball off his instep.
Jefferson won the sophomore game, 10-0 in five innings.
Dylan Jellison, 2b-p, 3 2 1 1, Christian Knox, cf-2b, 3 1 1 1, Jordan Dee, 1b, 2 0 0 1, Colton Spicer, 1b, 3 0 0 0, Chance Tiedtke, p-lf, 5 0 3 1, Aaron Gruwell, cr, 0 1 0 0, Austin Goodell, rf, 4 1 1 0, Gruwell, rf, 1 0 0 0, Spencer Van Scoyoc, p, 0 0 0 0, Layne Sullivan, dh, 4 3 2 1, Ben Koering, ss, 0 0 0 0, Sam Techau, 3b, 2 0 1 0, Colten Jourdan, c, 3 0 2 3, Hunter Kloubec, cr, 0 0 0 0, Dylan Wright, lf-p-cf-rf, 3 0 1 0, Gruwell, cr, 0 0 0 0. Totals 33 8 12 8.
Josh Jahlas, cf, 5 0 2 1, Derek Jacobus, ss, 5 1 1 0, Cody Bell, p-1b, 5 3 4 0, Jared Staton, cr, 0 0 0 0, Devon Jacobus, 3b, 4 1 2 1, Logan Ambroosy, 1b-rf, 3 2 1 2, Alex Hayden, 2b, 4 1 1 0, Jimmy Lizarraga, c, 3 1 2 1, Joel Smetzer, cr, 0 0 0 0, Adam Lloyd, rf-p, 2 0 1 1, Zach Johnson, p, 1 0 1 1, Staton, cr, 0 0 0 0, Brandon Seubert, cr, 0 0 0 0, Andrew Johnson, lf, 4 0 0 0. Totals 36 9 15 7.
Jefferson 005 110 10 -- 8 12 3
Kennedy 014 002 11 -- 9 15 3
Tiedtke, Wright (4), Jellison (6), Van Scoyoc (8) and Jourdan. Bell, Z.Johnson (3), Lloyd (5) and Lizarraga. W - Lloyd (8-0). L - Van Scoyoc (1-2). 2B - Knox, Tiedtke, Sullivan, Jourdan, Bell 2. HR - Ambrosy. SB - Lizarraga, Seubert.
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