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New two-hole hitter Edge continues torrid clip, as Clever ups winning streak to nine


SPRINGFIELD — Jacob Edge never found himself on the edge of walking away from baseball, even while still toiling on Clever’s jayvee as a junior a year ago.

Edge is being rewarded for his perseverance in a big way as a senior this spring. He continued his hot hitting by going 3-for-4 in the Jays’ 16-3, five-inning triumph against Greenwood on Thursday.

Edge has had seven multi-hit games this month and enters today’s action with 10 hits in his last 12 at-bats.  He tops the Jays with a .500 batting average, 26 hits, 25 runs scored and 10 stolen bases.

“I played my whole life, so I wasn’t going to quit,” Edge said about not cracking the varsity lineup until this year. “There was still a chance I was going to play (as a senior). I stuck around and ended up playing.

“I've gotten more chances to prove myself this year,” he added. “In jayvee, it’s kind of slow most of the time, so you can’t really prove yourself. When there is more action, you can show what you can do.”

“He’s one that shows if you wait your turn, good things can happen,” Jays coach Brandon Cobb said. ““I’m really happy for him. He’s such a good kid and deserves the success he’s having. He's always worked hard.”

Cobb bumped Edge up to two-hole in Clever’s lineup Thursday for the first time this season.

“I liked it,” Edge said “I got more chances to hit, so that’s more fun. I’m confident I can do my job.”

Edge and leadoff hitter Brayden Verch are getting on base for the middle hitters in the Jays’ order.

“Jacob’s a really good contact guy. His bat stays in the zone for a long time,” Cobb said. “He’s aggressive and fearless.”

Owen Hall, Kendall Piper and Landon Flood all had two hits for Clever at Greenwood. The Jays (12-7) upped their winning streak to nine games.

Another hitter who has emerged for the Jays this season is Lucas Owen. He had three home runs before the end of March and upped his homer total to four by going deep earlier this week against Exeter.

All this after not hitting a home run all of last season.

“I got a little stronger, but I don’t think that’s what it was,” Owen said about his increased power. “I’ve grown my confidence at the plate. It’s all about confidence. The worst part of my game has always been the mental game. But it’s gotten a lot better and that’s what has really helped me at the plate.

“I started realizing it’s just a game,” he added. “I’ve realized it doesn’t really matter if I strike out, but I figure while I’m up there I probably shouldn’t strike out.”

“We’ve had those conversations about staying out of your own mind,” Cobb said. “Bad things happen in baseball. Good players fail 70 percent of the time. Lucas is starting to handle the failures well.” 

Clever’s single-season school record for home runs is seven. Owen’s four homers are the third highest total in the program’s history.

“The ball jumps off his bat,” Cobb said. “He has incredible exit velocity. He’s a strong kid. When he runs into a baseball and the ball has backspin, it goes a long way.”

Brennon West pitched four innings at Greenwood and struck out six to gain the win.