Article courtsey of MIPrepZone
ROCHESTER — Having split the first two in this week’s three-game series, Wednesday’s finale between Rochester and Lake Orion was set up to be significant in shaping the late-season divisional race.
A win for Lake Orion would give the Dragons a two-game cushion in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division, while Rochester sought to position itself to be within striking distance with two series to go.
Pitching with poise and consistently pounding the strike zone, Rochester’s senior pitcher Jacob Jackson tossed a sparkling complete game, four-hit shutout to lead the Falcons to a 6-0 victory and an overall series win Wednesday.
Inducing 12 ground ball outs and a number of lazy fly balls, Jackson never permitted more than one baserunner in any inning. More importantly, he did not walk a batter.
“When you don’t walk anyone and force the other team to swing the bat, not many teams will put three or four hits together in a row for a big inning, especially if you have good stuff,” Rochester coach Eric Magiera said. “Jacob throws a good fastball and an above average off-speed pitch, but everything is thrown for strikes.”
Jackson needed less than 70 pitches to cruise through an often-dangerous Lake Orion lineup.
“My curveball is always one of my favorite pitches and obviously I had a great team behind me,” Jackson said of helping his team to a win. “There were lots of plays up the middle and not a lot of errors. Thomas (Loftus) in centerfield was making a lot of catches for me. Overall, it was a great team effort.”
The Falcons’ bats produced at the plate as well, jumping out to a 3-0 first-inning lead with RBI singles by seniors Tyler Frankhouse and Ben Compton, as well as one for freshman Nick Stout.
Mark Matynka and Nick Stepke tacked on additional runs with a sacrifice fly apiece in the later innings, followed by an RBI double just inside the third base bag by Loftus in the fifth to make it 6-0 for Rochester (12-8, 6-3 OAA Red).
“We didn’t give their pitchers any easy innings,” Magiera said. “We’ve been lucky to be swinging the bats very well right now and we have for a couple weeks. We have confidence.”
Lake Orion captured an 8-5 win in the second game of the series, which began Tuesday and was completed on Wednesday. Ryan Kolp and Andre Orselli each delivered two RBI in the game to lead the Dragons (15-7, 7-2 OAA Red).
Rochester’s Albert Nagy pitched a complete game with 12 strikeouts to lift the Falcons to a 9-3 win in Game 1 of the series.
Magiera said he was pleased to see his team play well in all three games against Lake Orion, and to now be within a game of first place in the standings.
“It gives us a lot of control over what we’re doing,” Magiera said. “We’ve got two difficult opponents coming up in Stoney Creek and (Rochester) Adams. You can never guarantee anything against those teams, but we know if we play well, we’ll have a good chance to be right there at the top of the league.”