Diamond Jaxx Win First Half

West Tenn and Huntsville had a winner-take-all, one game battle in Huntsville on Tuesday night, and the Jaxx were left as the lone team standing thanks to Ryan Ketchner's pitching and some clutch hitting.

The West Tenn Diamond Jaxx beat Huntsville 5-1 on Tuesday night to win the Southern League's Northern Division title for the first half of the season. With the win, the Jaxx are guaranteed a spot in the Southern League playoffs in September.

Ryan Ketchner threw 7 1/3 innings, allowing just four hits and an unearned run. He moved to 6-2 on the season with the win, and lowered his ERA to 3.23. Shawn Kelley entered the game with two on and one out in the eighth but got out of the jam, striking out Mat Gamel to end the threat. Kelley earned the save as he induced a game-ending double play from Cole Gillespie.

Mike Wilson got the Jaxx off to a good start with a two-run double in the first inning. After the Stars struck back with an unearned run in the second, Adam Moore gave the Jaxx a two-run cushion again with an RBI single in the fourth. The Jaxx initially missed an opportunity for an insurance run in the sixth, when Johan Limonta was gunned down at the plate attempting to score from second base on Jon Nelson's base hit. But with two outs in the inning, Luis Valbuena lined a single to center field that plated two and provided the margin of victory.

It was a typical balanced offensive attack for the Jaxx, as every starter had at least one hit, and only one player (Limonta) had two.

Ketchner's fantastic night meant that the Jaxx could turn straight to Kelley to shut the door. Kelley has risen quickly through the organization, from Wisconsin to High Desert and now to West Tenn, all in the span of two months. With his scoreless work on Tuesday, he has made 17 consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run, a span of 17 2/3 innings over which he has given up nine hits and struck out 18.

West Tenn continues a road trip at Huntsville tomorrow. The two teams have five more games to play in the series, but the Jaxx won the game that counted most.


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