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Jacobus draws even against Hallam in Susquehanna series

DICK VanO'LINDA
505-5403/@ydsports
  • The best-of-five Susquehanna League title series is now tied a 1-1.
  • Game 3 is set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Hallam.
  • Game 4 will be played at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, back at Jacobus.

JACOBUS — If there were any lingering effects from Tuesday's bitter loss, Jacobus' players didn't show them on Thursday evening.

The Jackals were on top of their games, pitching, hitting and fielding, as they hammered Hallam, 12-0, to even the best-of-five Susquehanna League Playoff Championship Series at one game apiece.

Kerry Clark came up big for Jacobus on Sunday in a 1-0 Susquehanna League playoff win over Red Lion. Clark pitched a four-hit shutout while fanning seven. That allowed Jacobus to win the best-of-three quarterfinal series, 2-1.

Game 3 is set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Hallam.

Jacobus, after losing Game 1 on a two-out, two-strike, three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, dominated Game 2, pounding 16 hits to back the outstanding pitching of Kerry Clark.

"That's the kind of team we are," Jacobus' Drew Kelley said. "We just brush it (the loss) off and come back for the next game."

Kelley, after flying out to center in his first at bat, blasted solo lead-off home runs in his next two at bats. Both drives easily cleared the fence in left field.

"It's about time," Kelley said. "I had a tough season. Today, I got a couple of pitches I could see, and I took them deep."

Joel Buchko also homered for Jacobus, crushing a three-run shot, also to left field, that capped a seven-run fifth inning.

Kelley, Buchko, Clark, Anthony Ferrell, Mike Austin, Eric Hamberger and Jed Larkin each had two hits for the winners.

Clark, meanwhile, held Hallam to three hits, including a double and a triple by Alex Tucci.

The right-hander required just 65 pitches in a game that required only 1 hour, 15 minutes to complete. He struck out six and didn't walk a single batter.

"Thirty pitches above that would be my normal total," Clark said. "I set up a lot with my curve ball. I was snapping that in for strikes. That made it easier to snap the fastball in for strikes because they were off balance."

Clark didn't walk a single batter while striking out six.

The defense made all the plays for Clark, including a pair of sparkling ones.

In the fourth inning, the Jackals executed two relays perfectly to cut down Jaron Shimmel, who doubled but was out trying for a triple. Then, in the fifth, Buchko raced back to the backstop to retrieve a wild pitch, picked up the ball and threw out Tucci attempting to go from second to third.

"Our defense has been awesome throughout the playoffs," said Clark, who plays third base when he isn't pitching. "I don't think we made an error at all in the playoffs."

Clark is among a large group of Dallastown High School graduates on the Jacobus roster

"It's just about all Dallastown guys," he said. "It's nice having a core of friends who grew up together and played ball together. We can all tell each other what we're doing wrong and not get an attitude."

The players bonded together and delivered an almost-must victory on Thursday.

"That one the other night, it hurt a little bit, but we showed up and played today," said Larkin, Jacobus' player-manager. "Everyone has a full-time job. It (baseball) is important, but dwelling on it really isn't there anymore."

Reach Dick VanO'Linda at sports@yorkdispatch.com.