Jeannette baseball team starts season with wins
The bad thing about the frigid, snowy spring was its effect on local high school baseball programs that could not go outside to practice.
The good thing is that the weather was a factor for every team, so teams like Jeannette, who practiced once outside before playing their first game, were no further behind than their opponents.
Jeannette opened its regular season with two wins last week including a Section 4-AA victory over Southmoreland. Head coach Marcus Clarkson is not at all displeased with his team's effort.
“We played well defensively in both games,” said Clarkson. “We pitched well, too. It was a good start to the season.”
Jeannette opened the season with a 4-3, comeback, walk-off win over Southmoreland.
Senior Garett Elliott started the season where he left off last season — dominating the competition. Elliott's final appearance of 2012 was a one-hit gem and the Jayhawk ace repeated the feat over four solid innings against Southmoreland.
“We had Garrett on a limited pitch count because it is so early in the season,” said Clarkson. “He definitely picked up this year where he left off last.”
Sophomore Tony Mash came in for Elliott and hit a rough patch in the top of the seventh and Southmoreland took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh.
The Jayhawks' Zack Altieri led off the frame with a base hit. Jordan Edmunds followed with a double off the left center field wall scoring Altieri and tying the game.
Two walks loaded the bases and junior catcher Michael Wise ended things with a single scoring the winning run.
Jeannette followed up the Southmoreland win with another solid performance in dropping Monessen in a non-section contest. Clarkson started freshman Jimmy Malik on the hill and was impressed with his pitcher's composure.
“Jimmy was great,” said Clarkson. “We got him a nice lead in the top of the first and he handled his first varsity start very well.”
Altieri finished the game three for four with a double and a run batted in to spur the Jayhawks to the 8-4 win. Altieri, a sophomore, is playing shortstop for Clarkson — a move that required senior Jordan Edmunds to move over to second base.
Clarkson praised Edmunds for his leadership and unselfishness.
“He shows up every day and does everything he is asked to do,” said Clarkson. “I cannot say enough about him. I will definitely miss him after this season.”
Clarkson still has the majority of this season to enjoy Edmunds' contributions to the Jayhawks which will be needed this week when Jeannette plays three section games in five days including one Friday against a very good Shady Side Academy team.
WPIAL Section 4-AA:
Steel Valley (2-0) (2-1)
Jeannette (1-0) (2-0)
Shady Side (1-0) (4-1)
Southmoreland (1-1) (3-3)
GCC (1-1) (1-2)
South Allegheny (0-2) (2-3)
East Allegheny (0-2) (0-5)
Dave Moio is a freelance writer.