Jackson baseball team scratches out win vs. Poplar Bluff in SEMO Conference tourney opening-round game

Sunday, May 1, 2011
Jackson's Laban Petzoldt loses the ball as Poplar Bluff baserunner Charlie Kayser slides safely into second during the sixth inning Friday in Jackson. The Indians defeated the Mules 3-2. (Kristin Eberts)

Jackson baseball coach Tatum Kitchen claims appearances are deceiving when discussing junior Trevor Jaco.

"He looks like a skinny little left-handed kid that you don't think a whole lot about," Kitchen said. "Then he comes up to bat and looks the same way. Then boom -- base hit. Boom -- base hit. I think the kids give him a lot of heck about you can't throw balls out better than he can hit them."

Jaco delivered twice to lead the host Indians past Poplar Bluff 3-2 in Friday's opening-round game of the SEMO Conference baseball tournament, which is being played with wood bats.

"He comes up and he's focused," Kitchen said. "Every at-bat, he's focused and does a very good job of squaring things up usually."

The Indians broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning. Bobby Clark roped a two-out double to right-center field, the game's lone extra-base hit.

Jackson's Laban Petzoldt scores a run as Poplar Bluff catcher Chance Berry waits for the ball during the third inning of their SEMO Conference tournament game Friday in Jackson. Jackson won 3-2. (Kristin Eberts)

"It felt pretty good," Clark said. "I actually thought I hit it better, but I guess I didn't get as much of it as I thought I did. I should have eat my Wheaties."

Jaco stepped in and plated Clark when he flicked a single to left field.

The Mules made things interesting in the seventh inning when Lucas Tibbs singled to lead off then Jeff Rowland sent a single up the middle to put runners on first and second with one out.

But Indians starting pitcher Logan Bartels stiffened. He struck out Trenton Eudaley on a fastball after two curveballs for the second out.

Josh King then smacked a hard grounder to first base, but the Indians made the play to end the game and advance in the winners bracket.

Kitchen said he was beginning to consider going to his bullpen as the seventh inning progressed.

"Sometimes my faith in people is a little too much," he said. "I probably was going to ride him until his arm fell off. He was probably one or two hitters away from taking him out. He's so competitive. I know he would have thrown a fit, but hey, he kind of looked a little rough there and we were getting a little tense. But he gutted it out and did everything."

Bartels silenced Poplar Bluff for the first three innings, retiring the first nine hitters in order. He struck out five consecutive batters during the stretch.

"Work it in and out, keep them off balance," he said. "Really just mixing up pitches and keeping them off balance."

But the Mules went to work in the fourth. Logan Faith got Poplar Bluff on the board with a single to left field to score King. Bartels then plunked two straight batters to force in the tying run. Brad Dorr earned the RBI for wearing a pitch.

Bartels escaped further damage by getting Wesley Pyles to fly out to left.

"I just couldn't spot up really and I hit a few batters," Bartels said about the fourth-inning trouble.

Bartels finished with nine strikeouts.

"Usually his offspeed stuff is pretty good," Kitchen said about Bartels. "In high school baseball, if you can locate, especially a fastball and another pitch, you're going to be pretty effective. He's done a good job of that. Right now, he's probably the best of our pitchers at locating more than one pitch."

Jackson scored its two runs in the third inning on a Jaco single then Dylan Koheler's fly ball to left field was dropped, which allowed Clay Baker to score from second base.

Poplar Bluff0002000--252
Jackson002010x--370

WP -- Logan Bartels. LP -- Quinton West. 2B -- Bobby Clark (J). Multiple hits -- Jackson: Laban Petzoldt 2-3, Trevor Jaco 2-3. Records -- Poplar Bluff 3-8, Jackson 9-4.

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