By Dennis Glade
Washington Times Herald
JASPER — Washington senior pitcher Brayden Walls had one of the best seasons in Hatchet history, but he couldn’t will his team to one more win.
Class 3A No. 1 Jasper (27-3) defeated Washington (14-13), 13-0, in six innings in the first round of the sectional Wednesday evening.
After Walls sat down the Wildcats in order in the first inning (Washington was the home team), the Hatchets’ offense got back-to-back singles from freshman Jake Bedwell and Walls to set the stage for Tyler Edmiston.
Jasper starter Mark Giesler was able to wiggle out of trouble by getting Edmiston to fly out to center field and a strikeout of Zach Scheid. The threat would be Washington’s only one for the game.
“We come out with two hits in the first inning and we’re hitting their guy,” said Washington coach Steve Reed. “You have to find a way to score a run or two in the first inning to give yourself a little confidence, but it just didn’t happen.”
The Wildcats scored the game’s first run in the third on an RBI groundout from Ben Moore to give Jasper a 1-0 lead. Jasper held that 1-0 lead when the Wildcats came to the plate in the fifth inning.
After retiring Craig Shepherd to open the fifth, Walls allowed a walk and a single to right field to put runners at the corners. Giesler doubled in Ben Moore to make the lead 2-0.
Walls struck out Austin Alles for the second out of the inning and it looked like Washington would get out of the inning, but Jasper catcher Scott Stallwood reached on a dribbler that Walls misplayed and Nick Gobert scored.
Jasper pushed the lead to 5-0 on a Cal Krueger double to the center field wall.
“They got to Brayden, you have to credit their roster,” Reed said. “You give Jasper all the credit in the world. Brayden (Walls) is a top notch pitcher, and Jasper got to him. All you can do is tip your hat to them. Jasper is one of the top teams in the state. I don’t think it was anything Brayden did.”
Jasper could sense that Walls was tiring and they struck in the sixth inning. Walls was able to record one out, which coincidentally was Shepherd again to lead off the inning. Edmiston relieved Walls, but he couldn’t stop the bleeding.
Jasper scored eight runs on five hits with the help of two Washington errors. Walls allowed 11 runs total on seven hits and five walks, and he struck out five Jasper batters. Despite the loss, Walls finished the season with an 8-2 record, and at the plate the senior finished with a .514 average with eight home runs and 28 RBI.
“Brayden had a great season,” Reed said. “I want to thank my seniors for all their hard work throughout the season. Brayden Walls had the best season I’ve ever witnessed, both on the mound and at the plate. I was privileged to be a part of that.”
Jasper 001 048 - 13 10 0
Washington 000 000 - 0 4 0
Giesler, Krueger (6th) and Stallwood; Walls, Edmiston (6th) and Bedwell.
W-Geisler L-Walls 2B: (J) Krueger (2), Giesler, Knust.