HARDIN VALLEY — Jaylen Jones may only be a freshman, but he quite possibly has the biggest hit of Hardin Valley Academy’s young baseball season.
His single with one out in the ninth inning lifted the Hawks past rival Farragut 5-4 in a District 4-AAA tilt Friday night, March 23, at HVA.
Jones, a second baseman, could breathe a sigh of relief after his hit plated pinch-runner Mason Speanburgh with the winning run to end a marathon game and send the Hawks fans home happy. The game-winning hit culminated a huge comeback victory for Hardin Valley (3-3 overall, 2-0 in District 4-AAA).
Trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Hardin Valley rallied to tie things 4-4 with one out in the frame. Right fielder Bryce Jenkins started the rally when he reached on an error, one of four committed by the Admirals (5-4, 1-2) on the night. Cam Fisher followed with a double, putting runners on second and third.
Jenkins and Fisher both scored on a two-run single by Jared Lugo
The Hawks then had a chance to win the game. After Jack Umberger struck out, Skylar Baker reached on an error and Joey Leo drew a walk off Farragut reliever Ashton King to load the bases. King caught Jones looking to force the game into extra innings.
Jones had a tough day, leaving five runners on base, but that didn’t matter much after he took advantage of his opportunity to win the game in the ninth.
“I tell you, he was kind of down because he had a chance to win the game earlier and he didn’t come through,” Hardin Valley head coach Joe Michalski said. “But that’s baseball. You have to be ready because you never know when you’re going to get a second chance.
“This was a big win for us. When we started the season in Nashville, we got behind and we had runners on base with a chance to win those games. But we just didn’t get the hits that we needed. I told the guys that next time we were in a close game, we were going to win it. We were going to come out on top. And we did.”
Jones was happy to redeem himself.
“I was glad that I could get the chance to help my team get the win against Farragut,” he said. “I’m a freshman, but I know what it means to beat Farragut.
“I was just happy to get a second chance.”
One person who wasn’t happy was Admirals head coach Matt Buckner.
“We’re playing terrible baseball,” he said as he was leaving the field.
The Hawks might’ve had to work a little overtime on a chilly spring night, but they took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third frame.
Brock Umberger, HVA’s leadoff hitter, doubled to open the inning. He took third when Jenkins legged out a bunt single. A single by Fisher plated Umberger with the game’s first run.
Jenkins came home when Jack Umberger beat out another bunt single to make the score 2-0.
Farragut would nab the lead in the top of the fourth when Nick Barnes blasted a three-run homer over the left-field fence with nobody out. Paul Komistek led off the inning with a single. He advanced to third when Brad Grenkoski (who took the loss on the mound in relief) reached on a two-base error before Barnes cleared the bases with his round-tripper.
The Admirals extended their advantage to 4-2 in the top of the sixth on an RBI single by senior first baseman Cade Burkey.
Farragut got that run with two outs. Catcher Ryan McCarthy doubled before being replaced by courtesy runner Tanner Corum, who scored when Burkey reached.