The Fort Zumwalt West baseball team had to battle the rain and the Francis Howell Vikings on the diamond, but when the day was done the Jaguars could smile for a little bit.
Zumwalt West scored five quick runs before a rain delay halted play in the second inning. Solid pitching from Joe Boyle and Jeff Kuhlmann made that lead hold up and the Jaguars prevailed for a 5-3 GAC South conference win at Francis Howell Tuesday afternoon that puts them in first place for at least one day.
A quick start at the plate got Fort Zumwalt West (13-7, 5-0) in control early as the Jaguars scored a run in the first, and four in more runs in the top of the second for a surprising 5-0 lead off Howell starter Braydon Cook.
In the top of first, the Jaguars plated a run to get on the board first. The in the top of the second inning, the Jaguars made their big charge at the plate.
Andrew Schofield led off with a double to left field. Kyle Howe reached on an infield single and Carter Mize reached on an infield hit to load the bases with no outs.
Senior shortstop Danny Wright followed with a 2-run single to center and the Jaguars led 3-0.
Jaguars catcher Ethan Staskiewicz capped the rally, ripping a two-out, two-run triple to the left field corner making it 5-0.
Then with with Parker Boelling up, the rain, which had started late in the first inning, became heavier and play was halted due to wet field conditions.
After an hour long delay, play resumed as Cook retired Boelling with a fly ball to left to end the frame.
Two innings later, Howell (15-5, 4-1) finally began to solve Boyle, the hard-throwing 6-foot-6 junior Zumwalt West starter, as the Vikings got some good at bats against him in the fourth inning.
In the last of the fourth, Trevor Rhoads brought Howell closer with a two-out, 2-run single to right. Senior infielder Justin Perkins whacked a 1-0 pitch to right for a run-scoring single and the Vikings pulled within 5-3. Rhoades was 2 for 3 on the day.
Kyle Grantham walked to put runners at first and second but Ryan Perkins was thrown out at first on a roller near the plate as Staskeiwicz made a super run out, scoop, and throw to end the Howell threat.
Kuhlmann came on in relief of Boyle in the sixth and pitched back to back scoreless innings of relief to get the save.
Boyle went four innings, and gave up three runs on four hits to post his third win of the season.
Cook, who did not come back after the rain delay, took the loss. Chase Beiter was strong in relief for Howell, going five and a third innings, striking out five and giving up just three hits.
Patrick Connor, Ben Dobson, and Staskiewicz each had two hits.
Howell will get a chance to even the season series against Zumwalt West today when the two clubs play at West in a 4:15 p.m. conference game.