By TRACY WATSON
For The News-Register
GLEN DALE - Things could not have looked much worse for John Marshall early in the first game of a doubleheader with Union Local on Saturday.
After all, the Monarchs had allowed seven walks and five runs through two innings and found themselves in a 5-1 hole. But that was all before the John Marshall offense kicked into high gear.
Zach Winland and Jake Lucas combined for six hits and eight RBI and Josh McKown struggled with his control, fanning 10 and walking 12, but picked up a victory as the Monarchs rallied for a 15-5, six-inning victory against the Jets at John Marshall High School.
The Monarchs completed a sweep by winning Game 2, 9-7.
They were the third and fourth games without the services of veteran head coach Bob Montgomery who has been out ill, but is expected to return to action next week.
In his absence, assistant coach Roger Simmons, who was celebrating his 50th birthday, has been in charge.
''We needed a win and we needed to hit the ball like that to get some confidence back,'' Simmons said.
The first inning could not have been more different for the two teams with Union Local pushing across three runs without a hit and John Marshall scoring one on three hits.
Coach Rich Mercer's Jets took advantage of McKown to the tune of five consecutive walks to begin the game and a 2-0 lead. The third run came across on Austin Curry's sacrifice fly. In all, Union Local looked at 27 pitches before swinging the bat for the first time in the inning.
John Marshall was the beneficiary of a one-out Shane Wellman single to left, a two-out Todd Schmidt base hit to right and Winland's run-scoring single to center to make it a 3-1 margin.
Union Local's first hit chased home a pair when Willie Brokaw followed two more free passes with a double to deep left-center field and a 5-1 score in the bottom of the second.
The Monarchs came to life in the third on a leadoff Lucas single and an RBI double off the bat of Wellman. One out later Schmidt singled before Winland plated a pair with his second hit to cut the deficit to 5-4.
After Aaron Fonner was hit by a pitch, both runners advanced on a wild pitch and Tyler West worked a walk, John Marshall knotted the count on an error. Lucas' second at-bat in the frame untied things on a three-run double to right-center field and an 8-5 lead for the hosts.
John Marshall added to the onslaught with four straight hits to open the home-half of the fourth, including the third each for Schmidt and Winland, including his fourth RBI, and a run-producing hit from Fonner to make it 10-5.
The Monarchs made it 12-5 with a West sacrifice fly and Jeremy Betras' RBI single that capped a four-run fourth.
John Marshall closed things out in the sixth with a two-run Ryan Gellner double and Lucas' third hit, a long, bases-loaded single that ended the contest.
McKown went five innings throwing a whopping 136 pitches, including 62 strikes and 74 balls, but allowed just two hits.
''Josh needs time on the hill and he needs confidence,'' Simmons said. ''I know a lot of coaches might have pulled him early, but he started coming around and he found it. He was good enough to go five innings and get the win.
''The thing that I was most impressed with was that he put zeros up on the scoreboard the final three innings he pitched. I wanted him to come out on a positive note and he did that after five innings.
''I told the kids in the second inning that we were down, but it was still early and there was a lot of game left. They went out, did a better job of swinging the bat and got it done. It is very good to see that type of outing from this team.''
In all, John Marshall pounded out 17 hits, including two singles, a double and four RBI from Lucas and three singles and four RBI from Winland. Schmidt, who pitched the sixth for the winners, also collected three base hits.
Mercer, meanwhile, is looking for better things at the plate for his winless team.
''Our offense is the biggest issue,'' Mercer said. ''We have to start getting better at-bats all the way through the lineup. We left too many on base and didn't get the big hit.
''We preach throwing strikes on defense because we want the other team to put the ball in play. We didn't kick it around, but they sure did get an awful lot of hits.''
John Marshall 9
Union Local 7
GLEN DALE - Fonner doubled and drove in two runs in the second game.
McKown, winning pitcher Jake Lucas, Schmidt, Mitch Whorton, and Chris Minder each added an RBI for the Monarchs.
Brokaw had three hits and drove in two for the Jets.