BROOMFIELD — To a man, the entire Jefferson Academy contingent knew everything there was to know about Kent Denver’s Will McKissick.
The Sun Devils junior is leading just about every conceivable batting category in the Metropolitan League.
He improved on them on Tuesday night under the lights at Broomfield Industrial Park against the Jaguars.
McKissick, who came in sporting a robust .450 average, went 4 for 5 with a double, home run and 5 RBIs in Kent’s 9-2 win over Jefferson Academy.
“I told my coach who was calling pitches, even he might fail 7 out of 10 times and there was no such luck,” said Jefferson Academy coach Ron Naylor after McKissick ripped a double down the left field line in the top of the fifth with the bases loaded.
“He’s a heck of a player and just a tip of the cap to him. He’s a tremendous player.”
It started well for the Jags and staring pitcher Brandon Fitzpatrick, who was able to keep the Sun Devils at bay for the first two innings. McKissick broke the ice with a one-out solo home run to center to open the scoring.
Fitzpatrick was far from rattled and calmly got out of the inning without any further damage.
The third inning was a different story. He walked the first three batters he faced before giving way to Jake Barlow. The Sun Devils would make them pay for the mistakes — an error too — and scored three runs on just one hit in the inning to bust the game open.
“Little mistakes are what cost us this game for sure,” said Barlow, who faced McKissick twice with the bases loaded. “You definitely don’t give him anything up and in and you really try to pitch around him as best you can with the situation at hand.”
It was 6-0 before the Jags were finally able to get on the board in the fifth.
After squandering a wonderful opportunity in the fourth, with men on second and third with nobody out against Cole Whitaker, Jefferson Academy manufactured a run in the fifth with two outs.
Tyler Gray came around to score on Terry Stauber’s base hit and three pitches later, Barlow — who singled ahead of Stauber — came home on a passed ball.
Naylor likes what he has in the middle of the lineup, especially Stauber, who is just a sophomore.
“The sky is the limit for (Terry) and as time goes by he’s going to climb the ladder,” said Naylor, who moved Stauber up to the No. 3 hole after spending a majority of the season at either No. 5 or 6. “I’m sure he’ll be out cleanup hitter for years to come and the kids around him are pretty good too, but Terry is definitely a cornerstone.”
Barlow and Stauber each had two hits for the Jags, who were able to pound out nine hits, but left six men stranded on the base paths.
“Second and third with nobody out and not getting anything home against a good team, it shows itself in a variety of ways and tonight it showed big time,” Naylor said. “We didn’t fall apart, but we were not trusting ourselves at the plate, swinging the bat, and our kids are good hitter/ They trust themselves and good things will happen.”
Jefferson Academy dropped to 4-8 overall and 1-5 in the league. Despite that, the Jags still have a chance to make the playoff field. Kent Denver head the Metro League with a 9-4 overall mark and are 5-1 in the league.
Kent Denver 9, Jefferson Academy 2
At Broomfield Industrial Park
Kent Denver (9-4, 5-1)
001 321 2 — 9 10 1
Jefferson Academy (4-8, 1-5)
000 020 0 — 2 9 3
W — Cole Whitaker (5-2). L — Brandon Fitzpatrick (1-3).
Kent Denver hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Will McKissick 5-1-4-5, Rob Casey 4-1-0-0, Cole Whitaker 3-0-1-1, Ryan Pena 3-0-0-1, Matt Wells1-0-0-0, Ben Melvin 3-1-1-0, David Felman 1-1-1-0, Alex Yoshida 3-2-2-1, Kevin Qualman 2-0-0-0, Justin Howard 0-2-0-0, Geoff Bremer 3-0-0-1, Charlie DesJardin 1-0-0-0, John Rossiter 3-1-1-0. Totals 32-9-10-9. 2B — McKissick. HR — McKissick (solo in 3rd). SB — McKissick 2, Felman, Yoshida.
Jefferson Academy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Tyler Gray 3-1-1-0, Jake Barlow 4-1-2-0, Terry Strauber 3-0-2-1, Casey Lindholm 3-0-1-0, Brendan Arellano 3-0-1-0, Daniel Moriarity 0-0-0-0, Brandon Fitzpatrick 3-0-0-0, Dalton Cook 3-0-1-0, Taylor Teets 2-0-0-0, Sean Hancock 1-0-0-0, James Hare 3-0-1-0. Totals 31-2-9-1. 2B — Lindholm.
Kent Denver pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Whitaker 6-8-2-2-1-8, Yoshida 1-1-0-0-0-1.
Jefferson Academy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Fitzpatrick 3+-3-4-3-5-1, Barlow 4-7-5-4-3-4.