Weather in area ends game after six innings as Kubat, Williams shine.
About an hour before first pitch between the East Texas Pump Jacks and the Victoria Generals on Saturday, the sun was baking the turf at Driller Park and it was partly cloudy.
In the next hour and a half, the skies became overcast and dark. But the game was still on until the top of the seventh inning, when the lightning in the Kilgore area forced the contest to be called. The Pump Jacks won by a 1-0 final score, as the requisite five innings had been completed for an official game.
Without the efforts of Kyle Kubat and John Williams, the result may not have been as pretty for East Texas. Williams was the only Pump Jack to advance past second base in the whole game, and the leadoff hitter paced the offense by reaching base each time he came to bat.
In the first, Williams walked against Victoria starter Trae Davis (1-2) and stole second. He advanced to third base on a groundout, and then came home on a wild pitch from Davis to give the Jacks a 1-0 lead.
That was it for the offense in the ballgame for both teams. Kubat saw to that for East Texas, as he threw a complete-game shutout, albeit in a short game. The southpaw from Nebraska continued to be the ace of the staff for Ben Taylor and company. He gave up five hits and did not walk or hit a single batter in the contest while fanning five to improve to 5-0 on the season.
But he may not have gotten that win if it wasn’t for the defense behind him, specifically by none other than Williams in center field. In the top of the sixth, Billy Richard hit a one-out single on the ground into left field and advanced to second when Chad Kruse hit a slow grounder to shortstop. With two outs, Andrew Stumph singled to shallow center field, and Richard was sent home by his third base coach. Williams fired home on target and on time to catcher Louie Helmburg, who blocked the plate and tagged Richard out to end the inning. It was a play that brought the fans to their feet at Driller Park, and it ended up preserving the game for the Pump Jacks.
It was a culmination of a strong game for Helmburg, who also threw a runner out at second in the fourth inning. At the plate, he walked twice and was hit by a pitch.
The Pump Jacks only managed two hits in the game, and just one against Davis, who ended up the hard-luck loser. But that did not mean they were retired easily in any inning. East Texas had five walks, two batters hit by pitches, and one batter- Williams- reach on an error in the game, never once going down in order in the weather-shortened contest.
The hits for East Texas were by Williams and Kash Kalkowski, both singles. Kalkowski went 1-3 on the night, while Williams finished 1-2 with a run scored.
With the win, the Pump Jacks widened their lead over the Generals in the overall standings to five full games, and took both games of a home series with Victoria for the second time this season, having also swept them on June 21 and 22.
The Pump Jacks will now play four straight games on the road- Monday and Tuesday nights in Alexandria against the Aces, Wednesday night at Acadiana to play the Cane Cutters, and Thursday night at Brazos Valley against the Bombers. They will return home next Friday for another edition of Fireworks Friday. After the Jacks face off against the Brazos Valley Bombers that night, fans can remain in their seats for another exciting fireworks show set to a unique soundtrack.
First pitch for each game is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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