Cameron Jenkins isn’t overpowering, and he doesn’t have some sneaky trick pitch.
But what the Richland righty does have is a little bit of movement on his fastball. On Friday against a potent Kennewick lineup, that proved enough.
Jenkins threw six innings of four-hit ball before running into trouble in the seventh, and Christian Berry’s two-run single was the capper on a four-run fourth inning as the Bombers beat the Lions 8-5 in the first game of a Mid-Columbia Conference doubleheader Friday at Roy Johnson Field.
It was the first loss of the season for Kennewick (11-1, 5-1 MCC), which came into the week ranked 42nd in the nation in the CBS MaxPreps Xcellent 50. The win left the Bombers (8-4, 5-1) as the only MCC team without a league loss ... for a few hours.
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The Lions roared back in Game 2 for a 13-11 victory, jumping out big with a seven-run second inning. TJ Rea smacked a two-run double and Dillon Plew a two-run single to ignite the offense after it was stymied in the opener.
Got the job done
Jenkins wasn’t flashy but effective, limiting a Kennewick lineup that came in hitting better than .400 to just a pair of singles through five innings. He induced six pop-ups and five more fly-ball outs until getting chased with two out in the seventh. He also benefited from a sterling defense that turned two double plays.
“My fastball runs a little bit, and it causes guys to get under it a little bit,” said Jenkins, who consistently worked ahead in the count and ahead on the scoreboard.
Griffey March doubled in a run and came around on Berry’s sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead before the Lions set foot in the batter’s box.
In the third, Taiton Gillespie found a hole on the right side to bring March home again for a 3-0 edge. The four-run fourth, started by singles from Josh Mendoza and Derek Harder at the bottom of the order, seemed to put the game out of reach.
“I think everyone was just seeing the ball real well,” Gillespie said. “Their pitchers were not hitting their spots. Some of their balls were just on the edge, and we picked (pitches) that were right there and put a hurt on it.”
The fourth inning was the end of the day for Kennewick starter Gerald Hein, who struggled with his control in his 3 2/3 innings of work, giving up five hits, three walks and a hit batter.
Lions rally late
Kennewick scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings on RBI singles from Rea and Tyler Detloff.
Jenkins was an out away from finishing the game in the seventh before the Lions loaded the bases.
Garrett Dixon unloaded them with a double, pulling Kennewick within three runs and chasing Jenkins.
Austin Haughton came on and got the final out on a fly ball for the save.
Kennewick storms back
Haughton got the start in Game 2, but Kennewick rediscovered its offense and got up big early.
Rea smacked three doubles and drove in three runs, Dixon had a two-run double, and Tyler Detloff doubled and tripled as the Lions racked up eight extra-base hits.
“Getting those runs early really sparked our offense and put us in a different mentality,” Kennewick coach Lenny Ayres said. “We lost our first game of the season; some teams would have folded the tent up there, but the kids fought.”
The Bombers, down nine heading into the seventh, rallied for seven runs to make it close. Adam Weisenfels’ two-run double helped Richland take advantage of five walks.
Highlights: Cameron Jenkins (R) 6.2IP-5H-5ER-4BB-1K; Griffey March (R) 2B, RBI, 3R; Taiton Gillespie (R) 2x3, 2 RBI; Christian Berry (R) 3 RBI; Josh Mendoza (R) 2x2, 2B, BB, SAC; TJ Rea (K) 2x4, RBI; Dillon Plew (K) 2B, 2 HBP, BB; Garrett Dixon (K) 3-R 2B; Andrew Townsend (K) 2x4, 2B.
Highlights: Adam Weisenfels (R) 2B, 2 RBI; Mendoza (R) 2B; Rea (K) 3x5, 3 2B, 3 RBI; Dixon (K) 2B, 2 RBI; Tyler Detloff (K) 2x3, 2B, 3B, RBI; Trent Sellers (K) 2x4, 2B, 2 RBI; Skyler Morby (K) 2B; Ramon Gutierrez (K) 2x3; Matt Driver (K) 4.2IP-3K.
Kevin Anthony: 509-582-1403