Blue Jays fly into state tournament at Jack Brown Stadium
The Blue Jays hope to be the first team to win the state tournament at home since Mandan in the 2009-10 season.
JAMESTOWN — Jamestown High School senior Gage Orr and his teammates set a goal before the season began to play in the 2022 State Tournament, and they have accomplished that.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Orr said. “It’s gonna be fun for sure. Last year we didn’t make WDA so that was a bummer and this year we got WDA and next goal is to make state. Now, it’s day by day and see what we can do.”
The Blue Jays are making their first appearance at a state tournament since the 2016-17 season. It is the Blue Jays' first time hosting and participating in the tournament since the 2012-13 season.
The Blue Jays come into the tournament off a win in the WDA state qualifier game, pushing their record to 11-10, giving them the No. 4 seed. The Blue Jays open the tournament against the No.1 seed from the EDC, West Fargo Sheyenne, in the first round at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, June 2. It will be the second time the teams have matched up this season with the Mustangs getting an 11-5 win on May 19.
The Blue Jays playing under the lights is nothing new to the veteran roster that went 5-3 this season in night games. The Blue Jays also went 7-3 at Jack Brown Stadium this season.
“WDA was played on turf and a lot of teams are used to turf and obviously Jack Brown is a natural field," Orr said. "I think that’s a good advantage for us because we’re used to that, practicing on (Al) Boelke (Field) and whatnot.”
The Blue Jays are led at the plate by Conner Hoyt’s .450 average and .505 on-base percentage. Preston Gall leads the team with two home runs, while Hoyt has 19 RBIs.
On the mound, Gall and Hoyt have a 0.00 ERA, while Hoyt has a .462 WHIP. Hochhalter leads the team in innings pitched with 36.2 and strikeouts with 35. Max Fronk leads the team defensively with 131 putouts.
“Our biggest key is probably going to be our pitching,” head coach Jack Bowman said. “It has been good all year. If we can keep our pitching up that’s gonna be one of our keys. Our other key will be to limit our mistakes. … That’s been our downfall all year, we’ve had one bad inning that’s cost us quite a bit. So, it’s just a matter of keeping that at a minimum.”
Bowman said he is not looking at one specific player to carry the team to the program’s first ever title but rather a team effort.
In the six days between the win against Bismarck Legacy and the game against the Mustangs, five Blue Jays have graduated.
“It’s been busy with the kids and graduation and transition to summer and summer jobs and other things like that,” Bowman said. “It’s kind of been hectic but it’s good we’re practicing. We’re just doing what we do, what we’ve done all season, we’re not changing anything at this point. We’re going back over our regular practice schedules, preparing for another game.”