Jennings leads Barboursville victory
HUNTINGTON -- Kirk Jennings is well in tune with summer 2012's re-occurring theme.
That scorching heat? Yeah, he's been bringing it.
With blistering stuff, the right-hander struck out 14 batters to guide Barboursville to its fifth consecutive age 11-12 District 1 Little League baseball title with a 10-0, five inning rout of Lavalette at Vinson on Saturday afternoon.
"He's one of the best in the area and he came out there and gave his best," said Barboursville coach Tyler Lester.
It was truly a dominating performance for Jennings, who gave up just a second inning single to Tate Hutchinson. During a stretch that spanned from the third to the fifth inning, he recorded seven straight strikeouts.
It was his signature steaming fastball that had the untouchable look to it.
"It's tough to go against," Lester said. "He's got some other pitches to go with that. He hits his spots. He's a very excellent pitcher. We're very fortunate to have him."
In return, the Barboursville lineup backed Jennings' showing with heavy production.
Tanner Brandon, who had the task of catching Jennings behind the plate, went 3-for-3 with a home run, double and four RBIs.
"It's hard to catch (Jennings)," Lester said. "Obviously, he had to put a batting glove on. It got a little sore. He does a great job for us.
"And I think he had -- what -- a two-run homer from us? And he had another hit. We're very fortunate to have the hitters we got."
Other hitting contributors included Jennings (RBI single in the third) and Jayce Gould (game-ending RBI double in the fifth). Barboursville scrapped together three runs in the first inning, three in the third, two in the fourth and two in the fifth.
Next stop: the state tournament in Martinsburg.
"You have to have a lot of pitching once you get there," Lester said. "They play you about every day, especially if you run into rain. We have no off-days so you have to win your pool to even have a shot.
"Once you win your pool, you take it game-by-game. We have a lot of good pitchers on this team and we hit, so I think our chances are very good."
Lavalette will get its second crack at a state tournament appearance when it takes on Vinson, a 7-4 Saturday winner over Wayne, on Sunday.
LAVALETTE 000 00 -- 0 1 4
BARBOURSVILLE 303 22 -- 10 11 1
Hutchinson, Hamilton (5) and McCloud. Jennings, Gould (5) and Brandon.
Hitting: (B) Lester 2B; Jennings RBI; Brandon 3-3, HR, 2B, 4 RBIs; Gould RBI