Jackson plays well in parts of its 6-1 win over Sikeston
Tom Davis ~ Tdavis@semoball.com
SIKESTON — For six innings, the Sikeston Silver Sox gave the Jackson Tribe all it wanted, as Jackson only outscored the hosts 2-1 at VFW Memorial Stadium in summer baseball action Tuesday.
“We’ve got to come ready to play seven innings of baseball,” Tribe manager Mark Lewis said. “We played one or two.”
That “one” was more than enough, however, as Jackson took a 4-0 lead in its first at-bat and then sauntered through most of the remainder of the game before awakening with some sharp play late.
“The last inning was a good job by our relief pitcher (Kaleb Garcia),” Lewis said. “He did a good job of coming in and throwing strikes. But we lulled.”
Jackson did, but it was “lulling” with a 4-0 lead, which is always helpful.
Tanner King got things going for the Tribe after getting hit by a pitch in the opening inning. He moved to second on a walk drawn by Will Richardson, before moving to third base on a single to right field by Blaise Winder, which loaded the bases.
Mason Lewis drew an RBI walk to put Jackson up 1-0 before Richardson scored for a 2-0 advantage on a fielder’s choice by Seth Spraggs.
Saxony Lutheran player Hunter Bilek then doubled home both Winder and Lewis for a 4-0 lead.
Sikeston thrower Tharen Russell ultimately took the loss, but he allowed just two more hits and no runs following the opening inning. He reached his pitch count (60) after 3 1/3 innings and was replaced by Tyler Stokes who threw the remaining 3 2/3 innings.
“I told them that ‘I don’t want to be that guy (who yells a lot),’” Lewis said. “But you have to understand that you are a young ballplayer and that is what happens. We got four runs and they felt like ‘We got this.’”
Eventually, they did have it and the veteran leadership of recent Jackson graduate Layne Frederich played a role in that.
Jackson held a 5-0 lead in the fifth inning, but Sikeston hitter Barrett Davis reached on a two-out single.
Trying to create some offense, the Silver Sox coaches had Davis attempt a steal and Frederich made a perfect throw to second baseman Bilek to get Davis out.
Following the throw, Jackson’s assistant coach Chase Simmons shouted out to Frederich “80 percent was beautiful wasn’t it?”
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As it turns out, Frederich tends to over-exert himself on throws and the ball can sail on him.
It did twice in this game, but not on that throw to second.
“At 80 percent I have better accuracy,” Frederich said. “I can normally throw it on the bag. At 100 percent, not as much.”
Lewis said Frederich is growing into his role as an everyday catcher after not being able to gain experience in his senior season this spring.
“What I liked out of him tonight was he gave us a little bit of energy,” Lewis said. “He was in the game. He had a tough block on a curveball and he ended up airmailing it, which bothered him a little bit.
“But ‘Freddy’ does a good job. He’s been working hard. For catchers and pitchers, for all of them being off in the spring, I think with blocking and some of the things you have to do behind the plate it takes a little time.”
Frederich added a double to right field in the sixth inning. He is enjoying himself with every inning behind the plate and every at-bat, because he knows all too well that the game can be taken away quickly.
Not only did he lose his senior season due to a global pandemic, but he was also injured as a sophomore running to first base with every ounce of strength he could muster and lost part of that season, too.
“I was on a horrible strikeout streak,” Frederich recalled. “I told my parents and coach that ‘No matter what, I’m getting on base today.’”
It turns out that “no matter what” meant tearing a muscle in his hip, which nearly cost him his career.
“I exerted so much (power) on the take-off and on the way to the base, it just started ripping.”
He worked his way back onto the diamond in preparation for a great senior season, but then the coronavirus raised its ugly head.
“Being this is my last chance,” Frederich said, “I am really enjoying this summer season. I love being back out on the ball field.”
The Tribe improved to 17-2 on the summer and Jackson junior-to-be Cayden Drum got the victory on the mound after throwing 100 pitches over 5 2/3 innings. He didn’t allow a single run and struck out nine while giving up five hits and walking four.
Mason Lewis made his father look good by pacing the offense with a pair of hits and RBIs, while Richardson one hit, two runs) and Bilek (one hit, two RBI) also contributed.
Tyler Stokes led the Silver Sox with a couple of hits and an RBI.
Stokes also threw the final 3 2/3 innings and gave up two earned runs while allowing five hits and walking four.