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TJ upends first-place Montour

| Wednesday, April 11, 2012, 11:00 p.m.

After consecutive heartbreaking losses to section rival South Park and Class AAAA powerhouse Bethel Park, Thomas Jefferson was in dire need of a key win to avoid sliding out of playoff contention.

Greg Schneider was just the person the Jaguars needed to send to the hill to make it happen.

The Pitt recruit shut down one of the most potent offenses in the WPIAL, limiting Montour (6-2, 2-1) to two hits as Thomas Jefferson (5-2, 1-1) ended its modest two-game skid with a 4-0 victory over the Spartans at the Burkett Sports Complex on Wednesday night. Schneider also had three hits, stole a base and scored a run.

“It was huge because losing to South Park the way we did and then coming back and beating Montour here is just enormous,” Thomas Jefferson coach Rich Krivanek said. “I think coming back the way we did against Bethel Park (in a 10-9 loss) after trailing 10-3 was a huge boost against Montour and showed we're a good team, but we just have to keep battling.”

Schneider didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning, when David Lyons hit a bouncer to the right side of the infield that Thomas Jefferson first baseman Joe Shaffer knocked down with a diving play, but could not control the ball as it deflected toward second base. He also walked four and struck out 11 against a Montour squad that had won its last six and not been shut out since being blanked 4-0 by Hopewell on April 17, 2010, a span of 37 games.

“They're a good team and it was tough going in, and I just had to throw my best,” Schneider said. “I had a good defense backing me up, and we just had a great game.”

It was certainly the outcome Thomas Jefferson needed after a pair of bizarre games in the last week.

On Thursday, the Jaguars had an 11-3 lead heading into the top of the seventh against South Park before the Eagles rallied for 11 in the inning to take a 14-11 lead. To make things even stranger, Thomas Jefferson scored three in the bottom of the seventh to tie it and send it to extra innings where South Park won, 15-14, in nine.

Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kbarnes@tribweb.com.

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