TAMPA — Hillsborough’s Jerod Jones said he knew he had to make something happen stepping to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning of the Terriers’ season opener against Gaither. The senior and 9-hole hitter, making his first start after being plagued by injuries the previous two seasons, laid down a bunt toward third base to start off his team’s half of the inning, and once he saw the throw get by the first baseman, Jones turned and hustled his way to third.
“When I saw it pass,” Jones said, “it was third base all the way.”
From there, a wild pitch went to the right of Gaither’s catcher and Jones crossed the plate to pave the way for the Terriers’ tough 1-0 victory.
“He’s battled throughout, an appendix last year, a broken wrist the year before that,” Hillsborough coach Kenny White said. “He’s been plagued by the injury bug, and he went out and laid a great bunt down, and I couldn’t be happier for him.”
The run was all Terriers starting pitcher Chris Figueredo needed, as he completed the win, striking out six.
“I told my team, as long as they get me one, I’ll make it happen on the mound the next inning,” Figueredo said. “I had that much confidence in my team and myself that as soon as we got that run, I knew we had it in the bag.”
The Cowboys got a solid start from lefty Blake Hodgens, as the junior allowed just two Terriers hits while striking out seven in his five innings.
The Cowboys threatened a number of times, leaving four runners in scoring position on three hits, including a two-out double from Kenny Rodriguez in the second inning.
Figueredo got a solid defensive effort behind him, including a long run and diving catch from center fielder Diamond Johnson (1-for-3) in the seventh inning. The senior retired 11 straight to end the game.
“Chris is as good as they get, our starting third baseman, our No. 2 hitter and stepped up on the mound for us last year,” White said. “He’s a bulldog, he doesn’t get flustered and throws two, three pitches for strikes — just battles every time.”