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Jacobs leads Carriage Inn to another victory

| Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 10:57 p.m.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Daily News
Carriage Inn shortstop Juls Leto makes the turn for a double play after a force out at second base against Hot Shots Saloon on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, at South Allegheny.

There was obvious optimism for Carriage Inn when it took an early one-run lead Wednesday against Hot Shots in their second Daily News League meeting.

The reason was clear: Starting pitcher Ryan Jacobs had not allowed a run in his first 14 innings and appeared set for another dominant outing.

As it happened, one run wasn't enough for Carriage Inn. It needed two.

Jacobs gave up a run in the top of the fourth that ended his scoreless innings streak at 17 23, but he slammed the door the rest of the way, giving up only three hits and striking out nine to lead Carriage Inn (5-2) to a 6-1 victory over Hot Shots at South Allegheny High School.

“School let out about three weeks ago, and I've just been on point since then,” said Jacobs, a recent Penn State Behrend graduate. “Lately I've just been throwing fastball, slider, then around the fourth or fifth inning come in with the changeup to give them some off-speed up on their front foot and then smoke it by them with the fastball.”

His simple approach has made things easy for his catcher as well as the rest of his teammates.

“It's pretty easy to play when you've got somebody like that pitching who's only going to give up a run or two, so we're able to relax at the plate whenever he's on the mound,” Carriage Inn coach and catcher Zac Grayson said. “It's definitely not a bad thing to have him go out there and throw, and, hopefully, he can keep it up.”

Grayson went 3 for 3 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored as the team overcame a couple of early missed opportunities.

Fate was not kind to Carriage Inn in the first inning. Tyler Dillinger hit what appeared to be an inside-the-park two-run homer, but the ball rolled under the fence and was called a ground-rule double.

Instead of facing a 2-0 deficit, Hot Shots pitcher Anthony Monaco worked out of the jam with a strikeout and a line-drive double play to third to end the threat.

Undaunted, Carriage Inn found its niche in the later innings with a run in the third, one in the fourth, three in the fifth and an insurance run in the sixth to put things out of reach.

“We're all friends around here. We're all from the same schools, and we've all pretty much played together at one time or another,” Grayson said. “It's a good time.”

About the only doubt at this point is whether Jacobs will be around for the rest of the season. The right-hander garnered the attention of professional scouts when he pitched a perfect game for Penn State Behrend — just the 14th in Division III — and the Major League Baseball draft is scheduled to begin Thursday

If he's not drafted, Jacobs will attend a professional tryout in Muhlenberg, near Reading, on Tuesday and try to further impress scouts in an all-comers cattle call.

“It's definitely nice coming out here and getting seven innings every time because I'm working my arm, keeping it loose,” Jacobs said. “Not being in school, I don't have that everyday practice, running and throwing, but this gives me a little less than a week to recover, so my arm should be fresh by then.”

Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at kbarnes@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KBarnes_Trib.

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