Jamestown delivers big-time pitching, bats get hot against BHS
May 25—JAMESTOWN — Jackson Walters knew what he had to do Thursday night.
"I'm brought out there to close so I've been in a lot of pressure situations," Walters said. "My job is to go out there and throw strikes."
So that is what he did.
Up 4-0 on Bismarck High, with two outs on the board, the Jamestown High School senior let fly three pitches that left Bismarck's Tony Burkel swinging every time.
"That last guy, (catcher) Max (Fronk) and I started laughing because we knew that I had this pitch that was going to work and then it ended up a strikeout at the end to finish it," Walters said. "It was pretty exciting to be able to win this today and go out there and play as hard as we can to win that one tomorrow."
The 4-0 shutout of the Demons wound up sending the Jays to the WDA Tournament semifinals. The Jays will be battling Mandan for a spot in the WDA tournament game beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Jack Brown Stadium on Friday. BHS will face Minot in a loser-out game scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
"That was scary," JHS head baseball coach Jack Bowman said. "That is a game that we should win but they are a good team. From the first time we played them, they swung it a lot better today. They only had a couple of hits but they were more aggressive and they put bats on the ball. We thought that if we could get up on them early that it would really give us the juice and when that did not happen — I was kind of wondering where we were.
"But this team is experienced," he said. "These guys don't get rattled. They just stayed the course and we did enough."
Most of the Blue Jays' nine seniors have been on the varsity squad since Bowman came to town back in 2021. After a rocky sophomore season, the group witnessed locked in for a stellar American Legion season and found themselves in the Legion State Championship that summer. Last spring, Bowman helped the Jays advance to the 2022 Class A State Baseball Tournament where they wound up taking fifth.
"You develop a lot in a couple of years," JHS first baseman Carson Orr said. "You mature and you put work into it and I think that's what we've all done, to be honest."
That experience and poise were really the difference between the Jays and the Demons.
While the Demons managed the keep the Jays scoreless through three innings, they had no answers for the Jays' offense when it finally started to kick in.
With one down in the bottom of the fourth, Tyson Jorissen stepped up to the plate and doubled on a fly ball to center field. Orr batted Jorissen in on the next play to give his team a 1-0 advantage.
"That felt great," Orr said.
It was the boost the No. 1 ranked Jays needed.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Jays' let off a series of four doubles to score three more runs and extend their lead to 4-0 over the Demons.
"It was definitely a momentum swing," Walters said. "It's always nice to have something to start the ball rolling so that everyone knows it's possible. You saw after that we started hitting doubles into the gap and the energy just shifted and by the time we got to the seventh we were just like, let's just end it and get out of here."
Walters, Payton Hochhalter, Jorissen, Reagan Sortland and Brooks Roaldson all recorded doubles. Sortland, Jorissen and Hochhalter were all 2-for-3. Hochhalter, Roaldson and Orr all had RBIs.
Hochhalter commanded the mound for the Jays for the opening six innings. The senior hurler allowed just one hit and retired three at the plate. He walked two. Walters took over in the seventh and allowed one hit and recorded a K.
"Our pitching is really good," Bowman said. "Payton is really good."
Bowman said that Mandan's head coach Dewitt Mack said the Braves have also been relying on their pitching this year — information that could make for an interesting game on Friday.
"They are a very good team," Bowman said of Mandan. "They are well coached — they are pretty disciplined, they do things to kind of keep you off balance so they'll be a tough matchup. I am looking forward to a good game."
The boys are hoping it's a game many in the Buffalo City can come and watch.
"Playing in your hometown on your home turf, it's a good feeling," Orr said. "Having your parents and family and friends all there watching you is really cool."
"We're already trying to get more people to come out tomorrow," Walters said. "Hopefully as the days go on there's more people filling up the stands. There's a lot of open space for people to come out still."
Jamestown 4, Bismarck High 0
BHS 000 000 0 — 0 2
JHS 000 103 X — 4 9 1
JHS: Hochhalter, Walters (7); BHS: Tate Schaner, Traiden Kalfell (6).
JHS — Hochhalter (6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K), 2-3, 2B, RBI; Tyson Jorissen 2-3, 2B; Reagan Sortland 2-3, 2B; Brooks Roaldson 1-3, RBI, 2B; Jackson Walters 1-3, 2B.
BHS — Cole Jahner 2-3.