CARY, N.C.—Jenks (Okla.) High picked up its first win at the National High School Invitational, rallying for a 3-2 victory against Eustis (Fla.) High. Pitting a pair of teams that started the NHSI 0-2, the game was a bumpy ride for both sides, each of which made three errors.
“It feels good to be on the other side of one of those, for a change,” Jenks coach Dennis Keeley said. “It may not have been the prettiest win, but at the end of the season, nobody asks you how attractive your wins were. So we’ll definitely take it.”
Things remained scoreless until the bottom of the fourth, when Eustis broke through with a pair of two-out runs on RBI singles by Wesley Moulden and Clint Roberts. The Panthers were unable to tack on any insurance runs, however, as they had two runners thrown out by Jenks outfielders, highlighted by right fielder Cadon Owens gunning down Eustis’ Jonathan Mosos at the plate to end the fifth.
The Trojans had had their problems generating offense, including having a runner picked off and another caught stealing, but they got a spark from their defense and trailed just 2-1 entering the top of the seventh.
Unfortunately for Eustis, their own final error proved to be the biggest. Jenks second baseman Grant Guest led off with a walk and was sacrificed to second base. Matthias Johnson then hit a bouncer to Eustis third baseman Max Sellers, who tried to throw behind the lead runner at 2nd. However, Sellers’ throw sailed into right field, past right fielder Alex Hagner and all the way to the warning track. Both pinch-runner Trevor Wilkinson and Johnson came all the way around to score, Johnson beating out a close play at the plate for the winning run.
Both starters went the distance, with Jenks’ Allan Beer getting the win. Beer had only one strikeout, but both runs he allowed were unearned and he limited Eustis to five hits and two walks. On the other side, the late rally made a hard-luck loser out of Eustis’ Sam Gatch, who struck out five, walked two and allowed seven hits.