Broughton baseball coach Harry Jones will be the first to tell you his team is still a work in progress, but things seem to be coming together very nicely for the second-year coach.
It took four extra innings, but his team pulled out a 4-3 win over Jamestown Ragsdale Saturday in day two of the Bobby Murray High School Invitational Tournament.
Broughton took control in the game’s early stages, keeping Ragsdale hitless and scoring on runs by Dom Ford and Ben Sawyer to take a 2-0 lead. Ragsdale wouldn’t go away, however, as they used a three-hit, two-run fourth inning to tie the game.
Jones said he didn’t expect an easy win despite his team’s solid start.
“Ragsdale’s a really, really good team,” he said. “They’re really well coached, and I knew they weren’t going to stay down.”
Broughton looked to have the game in hand once again when Rob Case scored in the bottom of the fifth inning to give the Caps a 3-2 lead. But just as Jones said, Ragsdale came back as Niko Orfanedes scored off a Broughton error to tie the game in the top of the ninth.
From there, the game turned into a defensive stalemate as neither team managed to score until Steven Thornhill came in on a Jackson Williams single to win the game.
Ragsdale coach Donnie Maness said he was disappointed in his team’s performance at the plate.
“We didn’t get enough hits to get the win,” he said. “We had chances, we had opportunities. We win that game three times if we can hit just a little bit. But we couldn’t.”
For Jones, it was a case of his team stepping up when it needed to.
“We had guys step up and step up in positions where they hadn’t had to step up before,” he said. “We weren’t perfect, we made a couple of huge mistakes, but we were able to overcome that through effort and persistence.”
Saturday’s performance was just another example of the kind of leap that Broughton has made this season. The team was just 6-17 overall last year in Jones’ first season as the team’s coach. The team opened the week one game ahead of Leesville Road in Cap Eight play. Jones credited the team’s improvement to the maturity of his players.
“I think these guys have sort of renewed their commitment to this program,” he said. “Where last year’s young and inexperienced squad might have buckled, this group refused to give up.”