Patriots march past Jets in PAC 7 baseball action

Posted 3/22/19

LINEBERRY — Providence Grove pounded out 13 hits, including solo home runs by Drew Needham and Zander Smith, against a trio of Jordan-Matthews’ left-handers while Jordan Hodges hurled a …

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Patriots march past Jets in PAC 7 baseball action

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LINEBERRY — Providence Grove pounded out 13 hits, including solo home runs by Drew Needham and Zander Smith, against a trio of Jordan-Matthews’ left-handers while Jordan Hodges hurled a complete-game three-hitter and helped his own cause by going three-for-four at the plate with two RBIs as the Patriots run-ruled their PAC 7 2A Conference rival 11-1 in six innings Thursday evening on their home field.

Gaining a measure of revenge after being no-hit by the Jets two days earlier, Providence Grove climbed to 2-2 in the league standings and 2-5 for the year while improving to 13-4 in its all-time series with J-M, which dropped to 3-1 in the conference and 4-3 overall.

Becoming the first Patriots’ pitcher to go the distance on the mound this season, Hodges was charged with one unearned run while issuing one walk and fanning seven. The senior right-hander threw a total of 78 pitches, including 51 (65%) for strikes.

Jordan-Matthews’ starter Camden Fuquay went three and one-third innings on the hill and absorbed the loss after surrendering five hits and seven runs (six earned) in addition to walking two and whiffing one.

Kevin Cano tossed one and one-third innings in relief, allowing five hits and a pair of earned runs while walking one, before Luke Hinshaw pitched one inning and gave up three hits plus two earned runs besides issuing one free pass and striking out two.

“It was good to see us break out with hits tonight as we’ve had some returning guys start out slow this season while we have others playing their first year on the varsity,” remarked Providence Grove mentor Jerry Kidd.

“I thought we looked pretty solid in the field while Jordan Hodges gave us a great effort on the mound,” said Kidd. “His curve ball has really improved while he has good control over several different pitches.”

Jets’ coach John Will Headen stated this outing was the polar opposite of how his team performed against the Patriots Tuesday night.

“While skunks might stink, we stunk it up pretty bad this evening,” said Headen.

“We didn’t manage the game well at all on the mound while their pitcher was quite effective,” the Jets’ coach said. “They came out and hit the ball extremely well while we couldn’t produce timely hits, and hopefully we had a little gut-check tonight.”

Providence Grove gave Hodges all the offensive support he would need by tallying four runs in the bottom of the first. Jackson Jones led off the frame with an opposite-field double to left, went to third on a groundout and came home on a wild pitch. Ben Campbell then reached on a two-out fielder’s choice and moved to second on a free pass issued to Smith before Levi Adams drove in Campbell with a base hit to left, and when the ball was misplayed in the outfield Smith came around to score while Adams ended up on third.

Hodges followed by lining a single to center to drive in Adams.

J-M registered its only run in the top of the second when Chris Rios and Samuel Murchison led off the inning by smacking consecutive base hits to left prior to Rios sprinting home on an infield error.

Hodges then bore down and only permitted one base runner the rest of the way when Thomas Smith notched a two-out opposite-field single to right in the visitors’ sixth.

The Patriots picked up a solo run in the home third when Needham led off the frame by belting a 2-0 offering from Fuquay over the fence in straightaway center for his team-leading third homer of the season.

Providence Grove boosted its lead to 7-1 in the bottom of the fourth as Hodges blooped a leadoff opposite-field base hit to right before courtesy runner Travis Boone stole second. One out later Connor Johnson was hit by a pitch and both runners advanced a base when Luke Thomas drew a two-out walk prior to Needham drilling a two-run single to right.

The winners increased their advantage to 9-2 in the home fifth as Smith led off the frame by launching a 3-1 delivery from Cano over the left field fence for his first career round-tripper.

Adams then followed with a base hit to left, moved to second on a two-out wild pitch and tallied when Will Coltrane slapped a single to left.

The Patriots wrapped up their victory in the bottom of the sixth as Thomas opened the inning with an infield single to deep short, went to second on a passed ball and advanced to third on a wild pitch.

After Needham coaxed a free pass, one-out later Zander Smith grounded an opposite-field base hit to right to drive in Thomas and send courtesy runner Nathan Humble to second, and the latter scored the game’s final run when Hodges stroked a two-out single to center.

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