By Jarrett Guthrie
TAMPA PALMS – Jefferson’s Carson Moore had his bell rung early in his first start on the mound this season. The junior started the home-half of the first at Freedom by walking the leadoff, giving up two singles and being called for a balk to plate the first run. Two errors, a dropped strike three and another single later and the Patriots took a five-run lead in the opening frame.
But Moore kept on swinging.
He pushed his way through the next four innings, getting stronger as he went, bending a nice breaking ball for strikes, and the Dragons hitters chipped away eventually taking the lead in the fifth before unloading on Freedom with a 19-hitter, 13-run sixth inning as Jefferson picked up its first victory of the year, 19-5 in six innings.
“He’s a fighter man,” Dragons coach Daniel Gonzalez said. “Carson is a fighter and he’s not an easy guy to knock out.
After the first, Moore allowed just one walk and one hit in his five innings on the mound, while striking out five. One of the first-inning errors was on Moore, as he wasn’t able to coral a swinging bunt, and he admitted after the game he felt from there he needed to pay his team back for the mistake.
“I felt like I let my team down in the first inning,” Moore said, “and I had to step up as a leader and ball out.”
From a starting standpoint, Moore’s battery-mate said a slow start isn’t unusual, but neither is the strong finish.
“Usually the first inning (Moore) starts a little cold, but you’ve got to ride with him until the end,” catcher Mario Lopez said of his pitcher, “because he’s usually fire after that first inning.”
Lopez had a huge night in support of his pitcher finishing 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, three RBI, all while reaching in all five plate appearances in the game and accounting for three runs scored. Lopez second double, a two-run gapper to center, plated the Dragons deciding run.
“We kind of preach it, keep your composure,” Gonzalez said. “I’m not a big score guy, 5-0 – winning or losing – you play every pitch like it’s a tie game.”
Jaiden Duarte was 3-for-4, scoring three times, Miguel Denson had a bases clearing double, Yaidel Perez scored three times, Dylan DeGusipe had two hits, two RBI, and scored twice, Alejandro Montada and Matthew Johnson each added doubles as the Dragons runs in the win all went unanswered.
“It feels amazing to know my team has my back and I have theirs,” Moore said. “It’s the greatest thing.”
For Freedom (0-2), Kevin Kirby’s two-run single in the first and Jackson Seidl’s 2-for-3 night were the highlights.
Jefferson stays on the road Friday night, traveling to Oviedo Haggerty, while Freedom travels to Fivay next Tuesday for a district tilt.