'Happy, not satisfied': Blue Jays shut down Wolves Friday
The Jamestown High School baseball team faced Watford City on May 6.
Conner Hoyt was going for the James River in the bottom of the second inning.
On a 1-0 count, the Jamestown High School junior unleashed on a pitch from Watford City's Jordan Doty and sent the ball sailing out to the right field fence.
"It almost made it," Hoyt said with a smile. "I was a little excited."
The ball was flying high but was just a little too short and wound up bouncing off the top of the fence — a break that on paper — could have saved the game for the Wolves.
Fortunately for Jamestown, baseball isn't played on paper.
Powerhouse hits like Hoyt's combined with aggressive base-running, great pitching and solid work defensively, all contributed to a shutout of the Wolves Friday afternoon. Jamestown wound up defeating Watford City 10-0 in five innings in game No. 1 of the conference doubleheader and kept the trend alive in the second game, topping the Wolves 11-0.
The Jays have gone 3-1 on the week, bringing its season record to 6-4 heading into the final month of the season. The Wolves are still winless in WDA play at 0-12 but are 2-14 overall.
Jamestown's next test is slated to come on Tuesday at Mandan. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. The Braves are currently sitting in the No. 4 spot in the West at 6-4 and hold an 8-4 overall record.
"Obviously we knew that they were struggling a little bit but we can't take teams like this lightly," Hoyt said of Watford City. "They can always pull something out of their sleeves and they could end up upseting us. I think we came prepared to play today."
The Wolves weren't quite prepared for what the Jays wound up throwing at them in game No. 1.
"Pitching has been there for us all year and it was no different today," Bowman said. "Payton threw a no-hitter. Our pitching kind of kept us in games early on and now our defense is starting to turn a corner and doing a little bit better job and so that's kind of taking pressure off other parts of the game."
Hochhalter went all five innings for the Jays, retiring three at the plate while walking zero. Bowman said that while his pitching staff is relatively young, he has been impressed with how the batch of juniors, sophomore and freshmen have executed on the mound.
"I have been really happy with the pitching," Bowman said. "Not satisfied -- just happy."
While the pitching posed Friday was nothing new for the Jays, Bowman said there was considerable improvement on the Jays' defensive work while Hoyt said there has simply been a mentality change among a squad that finished at 8-16 overall and 5-13 in WDA play a season ago.
The Jays did not commit a single error through five and on the offensive side, the hometown team put up 10 runs on 10 hits.
"I told these guys that you cannot play to the level of your opponents," Bowman said. "I thought we did that. We had 10 hits and no errors, normally what it has been is four hits and six errors -- it almost brought a tear to my eye."
Mason Lunzman led things off with a deep-cut to the centerfield gap but getting caught between bases, the junior stopped short at first. That brought up Hoyt who notched his first hit of the game — a single that sent Lunzman to over to third.
A hit by pitch on Jackson Walters scored the Jays' first run of the day. Carson Voll tallied back-to-back HBP's on Walters and Max Fronk, loading up the bases for Carson Orr.
Orr wound up and drove in in Hoyt and Walters on a two-run double to make it 3-0 Jays with two outs in the bottom of the first. Orr wound up going a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate.
Jamestown put one more on the board thanks to a single from Reagan Sortland before a pop-up from Gage Orr signaled the end of the first inning.
The Jays' four runs in the first were followed up with three more in the second, and one in each the third, fourth and fifth innings. Hoyt and Lunzman tallied multiple hits for the Jays.
"We really just have gained confidence in ourselves," Hoyt said. "We know that we are better than a lot of these teams and can compete with a lot of those top-tier teams. I think it was just kind of a mental thing that we had to overcome."
Jamestown 10, Watford City 0
WC 000 00X X — 0 0 2
JHS 431 11X X — 10 11 0
JHS: Payton Hochhalter; WC: Hunter Cowan; Jordan Doty (4); Gabe Smith (4). W — Hochhalter; L — Cowan.
Highlights: JHS — Hochhalter (5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 K, 3 BB); Mason Lunzman 2-4; Connor Hoyt 2-2, 2B; Max Fronk 1-1; Carson Orr 4-4, 3 RBI, 2B.
Jamestown 11. Watford City 0
WC 000 00X X — 0 1 5
JHS 040 07X X — 11 6 1
JHS: Jackson Walters; Gage Orr (4); Connor Hoyt (5); WC: Carson Voll; Josh Chavez (5). W — Walters; L — Voll.
Highlights: JHS — Walters (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 6 K, 0 BB); Payton Hochhalter 1-2, RBI; Reagan Sortland 2-3; Ethan Gall 1-1, 2 RBI.
WC — Kanyon Tschetter 1-2.