King of the Hill: Jones tosses 1-hit shutout in 10-0 rout of rival Bears

Prep Baseball

Prescott’s Kody Jones pitched a one-hit shutout as the Badgers beat Bradshaw Mountain 10-0 Tuesday, April 10, 2018, in Prescott Valley.  (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

Prescott’s Kody Jones pitched a one-hit shutout as the Badgers beat Bradshaw Mountain 10-0 Tuesday, April 10, 2018, in Prescott Valley. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

PRESCOTT VALLEY — Standing at an even 6-foot-5, Prescott pitcher Kody Jones can seem intimidating on the hill. Add in his nasty fastball, curveball and change-up combination, and the righty becomes that much tougher.

Jones tossed a one-hit shutout, striking out eight and walking none in seven innings, leading the 4A No. 12-ranked Badgers to a convincing 10-0 victory in the first game of a two-game Grand Canyon region rivalry series Tuesday afternoon at the Bears’ campus field.

“[Assistant] Coach Tim [Winslow] does a great job calling pitches – really keeps them off-balance,” Jones said. “And he always says, ‘If you’ve got three pitches workin’ for ya, then nobody’s gonna be able to hit ya.’ And I had all three working for me [Tuesday]. It’s kinda luck, and it’s a little bit of skill. I had great defense playing behind me.”

Prescott, which has won three straight, upped its region record to 3-4 and its overall mark to 7-6. Struggling Bradshaw Mountain dipped to 2-8 in region, 3-8 overall. The Badgers scored their 10 runs on 10 hits.

“Coming out early on in the region, we were getting our butts whooped by some teams that we should’ve beat by a lot,” Badgers shortstop Jake Schulz said, referring to Prescott’s 0-3 start before winning three of its last four. “That kind of set a fire under us. Our goal every time we step onto the field is to hit the ball like this, play defense like this.”

Jones, who picked up his fourth win on the season, surrendered a double to Bears sophomore starting pitcher Paxton Prentice with one out in the second inning, and that was all she wrote for the hosts offensively. Jones retired the side in the first, third, fourth, sixth and seventh frames in a masterful performance.

“He had a little bit better fastball [Tuesday] – not his best – but he was down in the zone,” Prescott coach Kent Winslow said of Jones. “And with his height and the angle on his ball when he stays down in the zone, even if he doesn’t have his best fastball, it’s still pretty hard to hit. And he had a great change-up [Tuesday].”

Bears first baseman Timmy Young said Jones is “a good pitcher who hits his spots pretty decently.”

“We lacked the mental focus,” Young added. “He gave us pitches that we could hit and we just didn’t capitalize on the pitches.”

Bradshaw Mountain leftfielder Travis Robinson said Jones “was throwing fastballs down the middle and we were just watching them go right by.”

“We weren’t really aggressive hitting, and if you’re not aggressive hitting then he gets you in the mindset where he’s going to throw off-speed and he’s ahead,” Robinson added.

Prentice suffered the loss in five innings, allowing only four hits, striking out three and walking three. He gave up no runs on two hits through three before Prescott took control in a four-run fourth. Three fielding errors in that inning alone (four for the game) cost a Bears team that’s struggling mightily with its confidence.

“Paxton did phenomenal,” Bears coach Brian Bundrick said. “But we got a little down, and it’s a rival game and we probably got a little nervous. We didn’t fight back as well, and we got outplayed. But I don’t want to take anything away from Kody Jones. There’s not a team in Arizona that wouldn’t love to have him.”

The Badgers tacked on a run in the sixth and five runs in the seventh to cap the rout. Jake Schulz went 2 for 4 with an RBI single and two runs scored to pace Prescott at the dish. Brance Christopherson (2 for 5, RBI single), Jones (double), Korey Schwartz (RBI single, run scored) and Luke Fredrick (RBI single, run scored) also stood out.

“It’s 100 percent confidence,” Jones said of Prescott’s turnaround after a 2-1 loss to region foe Lee Williams April 3 at home. “We went in and we watched film, and he [coach Kent Winslow] showed us all of our swings are great. We have to go up there knowing that we’re better than the other pitcher and we have to expect to be good.”

UP NEXT

Prescott plays host to Bradshaw Mountain to conclude their region series at 3:30 p.m. Thursday on its campus field off of Ruth Street. The Bears have only two region games remaining to the Badgers’ five.

“It’s been a big struggle, but you can’t just lie down,” Young said of Bradshaw Mountain’s season. “We’ve got to come back out and just fight, and you never know.”

Doug Cook is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at dcook@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.