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Knights knocked out by powerful Seneca Valley lefty

| Thursday, May 24, 2001

FREEPORT: Average lefthanded pitchers always are in demand.

Above-average lefthanded pitchers can dominate lineups.

A lefthanded pitcher with a 90 mph fastball and a sharp breaking curveball is a cut above the rest.

Seneca Valley's Zack Jackson is just that.

The senior struck out 17 Knoch batters, leading the Raiders to a 10-1 opening round playoff victory in a Class AAA game at James Swartz Field Wednesday.

Jackson struck out the side in the first, second, sixth and seventh innings. He surrendered two singles and a double.

While Jackson was shutting down the Knoch offense, the Knights defense committed eight errors that led to nine of the 10 runs scored by Seneca Valley.

'We didn't put the ball in play,' said Knoch coach Curtis Schnur. 'Getting behind and down early made it tough. The kids played hard and didn't quit.'

The two rainouts earlier this week weren't a factor and the team was ready to play, he said.

The Indians jumped on Knoch pitcher Jon Walker for three runs in the first inning. He walked three and gave up a run-scoring single.

Three errors by the Knoch infielders opened the doors.

While Jackson was mowing down the Knights, strucking out eight of the first nine batters, his teammates built a 4-0 lead.

Knoch tallied its only run in the top of the fourth. Junior second baseman Ricky Murray beat out a bunt single and moved to second on a balk call on Jackson. With two outs, leftfielder Adam Coco hit a single up the middle driving in Murray.

The Knights had one other scoring opportunity. With one out in the fifth, Walker lined a double to left center but Jackson fanned the next two batters.

Seneca Valley's Derek Bonadio hit a towering home run, a 321-foot clout deep into the center field bleachers.

Eric Semega, Seneca Valley's coach said, 'Give Zack a couple of runs and he's hard to beat. We played Knoch earlier in the season and they are a good team. They improved.'

Notes:

  • Jackson has been offered a four-year baseball scholarship to the University of Louisville, but is hoping to be drafted by a Major League team. Semega said the Florida Marlins are in hot pursuit and his pitcher might go in the middle rounds.
  • Knoch's shortstop Chase Rowe is headed for Gulf Coast Community College, Pamana City, Fla., where Bill Mazeroski's son is the coach.
  • Knoch ended its season with 11-7 record overall and 9-3 in section play, finishing second behind North Allegheny.
  • Seneca Valley will meet the winner of the Franklin Regional-Trinity game later this week.
  • Freeport's Gary Gallagher umpired behind the plate.
  • Jackson works out between innings by tying a rubber band to a pole and on the other end a baseball, tugging at the band with his left arm and going through a pitching motion, just if he were on the mound.
  • A scout was in the stands from Seattle, taking a close look at Jackson.

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