Kewps’ patience yields payoff

Tyler Asche continued his recent dominance on the mound.
Thursday, April 7, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:14 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Hickman baseball team can be dominant. Sometimes it just takes them a little while.

Hickman hitters needed a few looks at Hannibal pitcher Taylor Logan on Wednesday before they built an insurmountable lead and beat the visiting Pirates 10-0.

The Kewpies took a 2-0 lead in the first inning but did not get a hit until the third. Hickman broke the game open with four runs in the fifth and ended it with three in the sixth.

Senior Justin Jackson led the offense for the Kewpies (8-0) with three doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored.

“We struggled a little while with getting our timing back,” Jackson said. “(Helias’ pitcher Jason Lansford) was trying to overpower us yesterday, then today (we faced) a little bit of a different kind of pitcher. He was throwing a lot of curveballs, had a knuckleball. It took us a while to adjust.”

Maybe being plunked in the helmet by one of those knuckleballs in his first at-bat helped Jackson get focused. He doubled in his next three trips to the plate.

Usually the starting third baseman, the versatile Jackson worked behind the plate for second time this season, allowing regular starter Nick Steponovich a day off.

“I’ve been blessed to have two excellent catchers,” coach Dave Wilson said. “At the catching position there is a possibility somebody could always go down, so you want to keep those guys playing a little bit. If Nick ever went down, Justin could step right in and do the job.”

Jackson said the transition isn’t too difficult to handle.

“It takes an inning or two to get used to, but I felt pretty good by the end,” he said. “(Catching) is what I plan to do in college.”

Jackson signed to play for Southwestern Illinois College next season.

Hickman’s other workhorse Wednesday was starting pitcher Tyler Asche, who followed up a no-hitter in his previous start with five shutout innings against Hannibal (1-4).

After a limited role last season, Asche (2-0) is now one of Hickman’s main options.

“I think what he did today, and what he’s done this year so far, is he’s pitched inside so well, he got in on their hands quite a bit today,” Wilson said. “That opens everything up on the outside part of the plate.”

This weekend, the Kewpies take part in the Capitol City Classic, an annual tournament in Jefferson City.

The Classic is notorious for drawing top flight teams from throughout the state, and this year will welcome at least five of Missouri’s top 10 Class 4 teams, as ranked by the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association, including the No. 4 ranked Kewpies.

“Every year it’s a tournament that our kids look forward to because they know the competition’s going to be so good,” Wilson said. “You get to this point in the season; you kind of measure yourself against the better teams out there.”

Now Hickman has the chance to find out how it stacks up.

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