Richmond's big innings doom Lafayette Jeff Baseball Team in Regional
June 5, 2011Lafayette Jefferson High School
PENDLETON - Lafayette Jeff blazed through its sectional championship with sharp pitching and a seemingly endless stream of timely hits.
Those attributes abruptly abandoned the Bronchos on Saturday.
Richmond scored five runs in the top of the first and six more in the sixth while ending Lafayette Jeff's season with a 12-6 victory in the Class 4A Pendleton Heights Regional at the Field of Dreams.
"Lately we hadn't played with too much pressure on us," Jeff senior left fielder Carlos Campos said. "It was a little different, because we've been playing well, and we got down by five early on. It put a lot of pressure on us."
Richmond advanced to the championship game against defending state champion Fort Wayne Carroll, which was postponed until Monday.
The Bronchos, playing in the program's first regional since 2004, finished 18-13. After outscoring its sectional opponents 26-4, Jeff allowed 14 hits and stranded 10 runners, including seven in scoring position.
"We did things that we haven't been doing this entire tournament," Jeff coach Scott McTagertt said. "We finished three innings in a row striking out with people on second and third; one time with bases loaded. You can't do that. We stopped the bleeding, but we just kept giving them momentum each inning."
Jeff starter Sean McDonald, who had allowed three earned runs over his previous 27 innings, struggled to command his curveball from the start. With the senior right-hander pitching from behind in the count, Richmond strung together six hits while scoring five first-inning runs.
Trailing 6-4 in the bottom of the fifth, Lafayette Jeff loaded the bases with none out against Richmond reliever Alex Lyons. But Lyons struck out Hunter Elser, and when Claypool lined to third, Eddie Munoz was caught off the bag for an inning-ending double play.
The Red Devils then sent 10 hitters to the plate in the top of the sixth to break open a 12-4 lead.
"That just put us down," Campos said. "We still tried hard, but there was little hope of coming back after that."
The Bronchos also left the bases loaded without scoring in the second and stranded two in scoring position in the first. While Red Devils starter Jurgens walked eight over four innings, he allowed only four hits and struck out seven.
Richmond walked the leadoff man in five of the last seven innings. Jeff pushed two of those runners home.
"He's kind of hard, but he gave you one or two pitches good pitches each at-bat that you could hit," Claypool said of Jurgens. "You just had to be ready for that one."
Jeff sophomore Peter Ripke hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth. The Bronchos played the final three innings without starting right fielder Alex Igo, who aggravated a recurring abdominal injury.
Jeff's 10 seniors ended the program's sectional title drought, but hoped to end a regional championship gap that stretches back to 1988.
"We battled all season and ended up with a sectional championship; we're happy with that," Claypool said. "I just wish we could have gone farther."
Richmond third baseman Jalen Hogg tags out Lafayette Jeff's Peter Ripke. / By Joshua Smith/Palladium-Item