It was a good sign for Newton South coach Ron Jordan that John Jennings was able to throw 60 pitches over four innings, giving up only one run on two hits while striking out seven. He hadn't thrown all spring due to arm soreness. But the senior UMass-Amherst commit was back to form for the Lions season opener.
However, it was his offensive performance that had Jordan in disbelief.
Jennings homered with two strikes in three of his four plate appearances -- good for six RBIs -- in the Lions 10-1 victory over Wayland.
Ive been doing this a long time and Ive never seen a kid hit three homers like that and dominate on the mound like that, Jordan said.
After a solo shot in the third inning, Jennings went yard in consecutive innings during the Lions seven-run outburst over the fifth and sixth innings.
Hes a heck of a player. Were going to have to rely on him in our league, Jordan said. It was a good sign to see him go out there and throw four innings.
Jennings mostly plays first base when not on the hill for the Lions -- Jordan likes to rest his arms as much as possible during the regular season -- but is also a viable option at third. He pitches and plays both corners of the diamond for AAU Northeast.
But perhaps the biggest testament to his athleticism besides what he does in the summer is what he does in the fall. Jennings is ranked as a top-50 field-goal kicker in the nation, and can also punt and put the ball in the end zone on kickoffs. He plans to walk onto the Minutemen football squad when he arrives in Amherst.
Tremendous athlete. And if you looked at him, youd say he doesnt look it, Jordan said. But he really he is ... he can even screw around on the basketball court and do very well out there ... hes very, very athletic.