Jackson Knupp pitched four effective innings and his three-run homer over the centerfield fence put Warren ahead for good as the Boys Majors opened all-star play with a 9-2 victory over Smethport-Mount Jewett, Monday, at Betts-Jackson Field in Warren.
Warren (1-0) returns to the diamond Wednesday when it travels to Bradford for a winners' bracket showdown.
The locals started slowly on Monday, scoring just once in the first two innings and trailing 2-1 entering the bottom of the third. Warren did take an early lead in the second inning when Lance Baldensperger hit a two-out RBI single that scored teammate Austyn Cummings.
Times Observer photo by Allen Seybert
Warren Boys Majors all-star Jackson Knupp, second from left, is congratulated by teammates after crushing a three-run homer in the third inning of Warren’s 9-2 victory over Smethport-Mount Jewett, Monday, at Betts-Jackson Field in Warren. Knupp drove in four runs and pitched four strong innings for the winners.
Smethport battled back in the visitors half of the third, plating two runs on three hits off Warren starter Knupp. From there, Knupp settled down, retiring four of the last six batters he faced and using his bat to turn the game's momentum in the bottom of the third.
Owen Balas walked to start off the inning and Catfish McMeans followed with a chopper to third base. Smethport attempted to get the lead runner, but Balas beat the throw, putting two aboard for Knupp. Knupp responded with a blast over the fence in deep center, bringing home three runs and putting Warren on top, 4-2.
From there, the locals went to work on extending the advantage. Warren plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth as the first four batters reached safely. Knapp singled, Nick Smelko and Nate Eadie followed with walks and Balas brought home Knapp with an RBI single. Two batters later, Knupp brought home Smelko with an RBI groundout to make it 5-2.
The hits kept coming in the fifth as Cummings led off with a single and scored on Jaydon Hayes' RBI triple. Hayes would score on Knapp's RBI single and, after collecting a single of his own, Jimmy Kramer scored on a Smethport error to complete the scoring at 9-2.
Knapp took over for Knupp in the fifth and allowed just one base runner - that on an error - in two innings of work. Knapp recorded five of his six outs via the strikeout.
Warren finished with nine total hits. Knupp and Knapp had two each and Kramer, Balas, Cummings, Hayes and Baldensperger added one each. Knupp drove home a team-high four runs in the victory.
Smethport 002 000 - 2 7
Warren 013 23x - 9 9
3b-Jaydon Hayes (W). HR-Jackson Knupp (W). WP-Knupp. LP-Ty Stahli. Save-Derek Knapp.