Jones' Hit Leads Polk Over Hillsborough
Polk State College sophomore Brett Jones lofted a ball over the Hillsborough Community College right fielder's head for a run-scoring triple with two outs in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the top-ranked Eagles a 1-0 Suncoast Conference victory Wednesday at home.
With two outs in the 12th, freshman Cody DeNoyelles (Windermere) reached on an infield single to shortstop, setting the stage for Jones.
Jones noticed Hawk right fielder Jhalin Jackson (Lake Alfred) was playing in.
He was also expecting a fastball from reliever David Shives.
He got it on the first pitch.
"I thought if I got it over his head, we might have a shot to win," Jones said.
Jones' hit was just the fourth of the game for the Eagles (19-2), who won their 10th game in a row.
Freshman Kyle Schackne (Lakeland/McKeel) improved to 4-0 with the win. Schackne did not allow a hit in one inning of relief.
"Schackne has been getting better all year," said Polk State College coach Al Corbeil. "He gave us a 1-2-3 inning for a chance to get back and hit."
The victory came in Polk's Suncoast Conference opener.
"Those are the ones to determine if you get to post-season or not," Corbeil said. "Every win matters."
The victory spoiled a strong performance by Hillsborough's Ryan Etsell. Etsell held Polk to two hits over 10 innings. He fanned seven.
Polk lefty Chase Sparkman also pitched well. The sophomore held Hillsborough to four hits over seven innings. He walked one and fanned three.
"He was phenomenal," Corbeil said. 'Too bad he couldn't get the win. He threw seven quality innings. When he got in trouble, he pitched out of it."
Freshman Ryan Labrador (Inverness) held the Hawks hitless over one and two-third innings.
Labrador came in with a runner on second and shut down Hillsborough's No. 2 and No. 3 hitters.
Sophomore reliever Trey Norris pitched two scoreless innings.
Pitching was key for Polk since the Hawks managed to put the leadoff runner on in seven of the game's 12 innings.
"That was the only negative on the night," Corbeil said.