By Jeremy McDonald
BEAVERTON, Ore.—In his first game up from 3A, the former Blanchet Catholic pitcher Jacob Winstead held a highly-talented Jesuit team to one hit and no runs through two innings of work.
Geez, through three it was a 1-0 Crusader ball game against a Semi-finalist team in South Salem that return the bulk of that team entering 2019’s season opener Wednesday afternoon on the road as the fresh face on the mound gave his team opportunities to shake off the rust out of the gate.
There were some minor nerves for Winstead in his first game with the Saxons, his defense however converted two double-plays early and nearly a third by the fourth inning. After his first start with a 6A State Title favorite over now, he’s already looking forward to Thursday’s practice to see how he can improve moving forward into the season.
“They’re a good team, they’re obviously going to go deep in playoff this year. I think my control was a little off today but I just happy to get my first game with this team out of the way and I think we’re going to do good things this year, we just got off to a slow start,” said Winstead, who struck out two in 3.2 innings of work Wednesday evening.
“I think my control was a little off with some of the fastballs and stuff, I gave five free bases today which higher than usual but I’m going to go back to practice tomorrow and work on that to get better next time.”
The pitcher in front of them, Jesuit’s Ethan Wilson was showcasing why he is one of the highly-touted pitchers in the area, throwing a perfect game into the fifth inning before an error occurred during Greyson Hanowell’s hustle play to first.
Brayden Neuharth and Danny Alvarado represented the lone two hits over the closing innings to prevent being no-hitted by the Crusaders. You could tell that the rust was there for an offense that produced offense by the bushel in 2018 as well as a stout defense trying to knock Winter out with Jesuit pushing their lead to 8-0 into the seventh inning.
But it was a good learning experience moving into Saturday’s 1pm game with South Medford in Scio though as they now have a measuring stick on how to improve entering their next tough challenge with North Medford, Sherwood and Sheldon next week.
One thing was how they came out pointed Noah Ferguson. It wasn’t how they were accustomed too. They need to get the bats rolling and clean up the errors on defense entering their game with the Panthers.
“We know what we have to do to get better. We saw a team that is definitely going to be contending for a State Title this year,” said Ferguson, who pitched 1.1 innings with two strikeouts after playing second base to start. “We know that is a type of team we have to be in order to get to where we want and our end goal of getting a State Title this year.”