DELPHOS – Whenever the two Delphos schools compete against each other in any sporting event, it’s a sure bet it will be a battle to the end.
Thursday’s non-conference baseball game between Delphos Jefferson and Delphos St. John’s wasn’t any different.
Jefferson scored a run in the top half of the seventh and then closed out St. John’s in its half of the final frame to come away with a hard-fought 3-2 win at Delphos Jefferson.
Thursday’s game was sponsored by the organization “Playing Hardball Against ALS.” The local organization is aimed at raising money in the hopes of finding a cure and treating ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
Drew Kortokrax pitched the first five innings for Delphos Jefferson (4-1) before giving way to Zach Ricker in the sixth, who closed the game out for the victory.
Kortokrax was tabbed for both runs on just one base hit. The senior right-hander struck out eight and walked three, while throwing 82 pitches. Ricker gave up one hit and struck out two.
Troy Warnecke started on the mound for St. John’s (1-2). The senior right-hander worked six innings-plus, giving up two runs on five hits. He struck out seven and walked four. In his six innings of work, Warnecke threw a total of 106 pitches. Drew Wagner came in to pitch the seventh.
Heading into the seventh, the game was tied at 2 each.
Austin Jettinghoff led off for Jefferson with a walk. Zach Kimmett followed with a double to left field, which put runners on second and third.
Kortokrax (1-for-3) followed Kimmett with a sacrifice fly to deep center field, which brought Jettinghoff in for the go-ahead run.
In the bottom of the seventh, St. John’s got a runner on base when Ricker hit Ben Wrasman with a pitch. However, with one out, Ricker bounced back and retired the next two batters to close it out for the Wildcats.
“That was the Drew (Kortoktrax) that finished his sophomore year,” Jefferson coach Doug Geary said. “He’s coming back from an injury. He pitched Saturday against Van Wert and he didn’t have the command or velocity, but today he put it together. He gave us five solid innings, coming off four days (of) rest.
“We got good relief by Ricker, coming in. And we got a couple key hits When you can get a key hit from the No. 9 hitter (Gage Townsend-Schleeter), that’s what it takes. You want to manufacture runs any way you can.”
Townsend-Schleeter had a double in the sixth inning.
Ross Thompson led Jefferson at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double. Out of the six hits Jefferson had against St. John’s, five of those were doubles. For the game, however, Jefferson stranded nine baserunners.
“We really haven’t had a close game (this season),” Geary said. “This is the first time, other than our scrimmage, where we’ve had that really tight game, where every play makes a difference.”
St. John’s mustered just two hits on the night. Andrew Metzger had a single in the first inning.
The Blue Jays did not record its second hit of the game until the sixth inning. Clay Courtney smacked a single to left to score Ryan Buescher, who got on base with an errant throw in the Jefferson infield on a ground ball.
“Jefferson can hit the ball and we knew that,” first-year St. John’s coach Ryan Warnecke said. “We knew we had to hit with them if we were going to compete and we really didn’t do that tonight.”