Dominick Jokel got a strike out to retire the side when San Angelo Lake View (6-12, 0-1) had the bases loaded in the top of the sixth, then struck out the side in the seventh to finish a complete-game shutout as Stephenville (11-9, 1-0) rolled to a 4-0 victory in the District 8-4A opener for both teams at James T. Young Baseball Field Tuesday night.
Jokel (2-2) was down in the count 3-0 to Lake View’s Mark Briones with the bases full of Chiefs and two outs in the sixth. He battled back to a full count before Briones swung behind a high fast ball to end the inning.
It took the senior right hander just 10 pitches to strike out the side in the seventh, giving him eight strikeouts in the 101-pitch performance.
“I just knew I had to get the job done,” Jokel said of his thoughts as he took the mound for the final inning. “I was just focused on getting the first guy out and going from there.”
Jokel’s slider, which routinely threw the Lake View hitters off balance, was the key.
“It’s a good strikeout pitch for me,” Jokel said of the slider. “I’m confident I can throw it for strikes.”
He allowed just three hits and issued five walks.
The senior entered the contest with a 2.91 earned run average, but had seen as many unearned runs (9) cross the plate as earned runs during his previous outings.
That wasn’t the case Tuesday, when the Jackets turned a pair of double plays and commited just one error.
“I had a couple rough outings before this,” the righty recalled. “It’s our first district game and I knew I had to step up. The guys stepped up behind me in the field, too.”
Stephenville broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth when a triple by leading hitter Tyler Floyd made it 3-0 before Jokel singled to drive Floyd home for a 4-0 advantage.
“That helped. It’s always good to have a few extra runs,” Jokel said. “It gave us some good insurance.”
Floyd, a junior catcher, entered the contest hitting .492 with an on-base percentage of .571.
Stephenville jumped on top in the third inning on consecutive two-out RBI doubles by Jokel and Morrison. Jokel’s two bagger plated Witt Westbrook before Morrison drove Jokel home just two pitches later.
Morrison entered the game hitting .433 with an onbase percentage of .533.
Lake View starting pitcher Chad Scott went 5-2/3 innings, firing 123 pitches before turning the mound over to Shea Williams to get the final out of the sixth. Scott was charged with all four runs, and all were earned. The right-handed ace of the Chiefs’ staff allowed eight hits, issued four walks and hit three batters.
Williams walked two more Jackets before getting the final out of the sixth on a fielder’s choice.
When Jokel wasn’t getting outs from the hill, he was difficult to get out at the plate, where he was 1-1 with his RBI double and also walked three times on his way to scoring twice.
Morrison, a junior third baseman, was 2-3 with an RBI and also drew a walk. Two other Jackets got on three times each as Ryan Harper had a bunt single, a walk and was hit by a pitch and James Hailey was hit by a pitch twice and had a double.
Stephenville once again struggled to bring runners home. The Jackets stranded 12 for the game including three each when they left the bases loaded in both the fifth and sixth.
Lake View also left the bases loaded twice and stranded seven overall.
Jokel fired 25 pitches when he had to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, getting the final out on a called third strike. He used 26 pitches in the sixth when he again got an inning-ending strikeout.
The senior needed only 50 pitches in the remaining five innings.
The Jackets host Waco University when 8-4A play continues at 7 p.m. Friday.