You always hear about pitchers who "help their own cause' at the plate. Jenkintown senior Greg Wagner did just that — and more — on Wednesday afternoon.
On the mound, the senior pitcher went seven strong innings, striking out eight batters while walking zero in a three-hit, one-run performance for the Drakes. At the plate, Wagner went 2-for-2 with a double, a walk, two stolen bases, one run and two RBI.
That complete performance helped to lift the Drakes to a 5-1 win over Faith Christian Academy in an early-season Bicentennial League meeting at Jenkintown High School.
Jenkintown (2-2, 2-0) went down 1-0 in the top of the third and then responded with two runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning, giving the Drakes a lead they would never relinquish.
"It's Greg's senior year and he wants it bad. He's playing hard and I think the younger guys are starting to feed off of him as well,' Jenkintown coach George Vafiadis said. "That's what we want. He's a competitor and he always has been. He's always been real consistent for us and he's a consistent player at the plate and always on the mound. He throws strikes and makes the other team beat him.'
Wagner tossed only eight pitches in the first inning and then closed out his fantastic performance with six pitches in the sixth inning and 10 in the seventh, retiring the final eight batters of the game.
"I was feeling good coming out in our second league game,' Wagner said. "We were trying to stay undefeated in the league and we're all pretty excited. The defense did a great job today and it's always great having people behind you helping you out. I thought they really came through today.'
After the Lions (1-1, 0-1) got one run in the top of the third on an RBI double by Cole Adams to score Zach Demar, the Drakes came back and plated two runs on a two-run double by Wagner to deep left-center field, which scored Andres Madden and Christian Geer.
In the fourth, an RBI suicide squeeze by Aiden Lorenz scored Jake Hamilton, and then the Drakes scored two more runs in the fifth inning after Geer led the inning off with a double.
"Overall, I liked what I saw,' Vafiadis said. "There are always things to work on. We had some base-running errors and our first six outs were strikeouts, but the guys made the adjustments and it's just a matter of making them a little sooner. They seem to be in the game mentally and that's huge.'
While Wagner led the Drakes on both sides of the plate, Geer had a big day as well, going 1-for-2 with a double, two runs scored and a hit by pitch. Hamilton went 1-for-3 with a run and a stolen base, while Justin Nusbaum drove in an RBI with a sacrifice bunt and also walked twice.
Wagner held Faith Christian's 1 through 7 hitters to a combined one hit in 21 at-bats.
For the Lions, Adams started off the afternoon impressively on the mound, striking out the side in the first two innings. In fact, the right-hander recorded his first seven outs all on strikeouts, and finished with nine strikeouts on the day in 4 1/3 innings. He allowed four hits and five runs while taking the loss.
"It was our first league game today and only the second time we've been out on the field,' Faith Christian coach Mark Hoover said. "We're young, but we'll get there. Hats off to my pitcher — he did a good job. But hats off to their pitcher as well. He shut us down.'
Jenkintown will visit Girard College on Thursday, while Faith Christian will face Delco Christian on Friday afternoon.
Faith ab r h bi Jenkintown ab r h bi
Adams p-2b 3 0 1 1 Madden ss 4 1 0 0
Groff 2b-p 3 0 0 0 Geer 2 2 1 0
Blake 1b 3 0 0 0 Wagner p 2 1 2 2
Hoover ss 3 0 0 0 Misinkavitch lf 3 0 0 1
Zehlemoyer cf 3 0 0 0 Nusbaum dh 0 0 0 1
Longacare c 3 0 0 0 Hamilton cf 3 1 1 0
Moriaroty lf 3 0 0 0 Baird 1b 2 0 0 0
Demar 3b 3 1 1 0 Contoudis 3b 3 0 1 0
Hwang rf 1 0 0 0 Lorenz c 2 0 1 1
Sciaca rf 1 0 1 0 McKernan rf 0 0 0 0
Totals: 26 1 3 1 Totals: 21 5 6 4
2B: Adams; Geer, Wagner.
Faith Christian 001 000 0—1
Jenkintown 002 120 x—5
Ip h r er so bb
Adams (L) 4 1/3 4 5 4 9 4
Groff 1 2/3 2 0 0 1 0
Wagner (W) 7 3 1 1 8 0