— As the ace of the staff at Parkland High School, Michael Jenkins pitched in numerous big games over his years as a Trojan.
Jenkins was never better in a bigger game than he was in today’s American Legion Region 2 tournament.
His nine-inning two-hitter allowed Lehigh Valley postseason champion South Parkland to stave off elimination with a 1-0 win over Muhlenberg in an afternoon contest at Owls Field.
South Parkland, which suffered a disheartening 6-5 11-inning defeat Sunday to Souderton, advances to Day 4 of the five-day double-elimination tournament. It will play Tuesday against an opponent and at a time to be determined.
Jenkins was in total control against Schuylkill/Berks champion Muhlenberg from start to finish.
He allowed singles in the first and fourth innings and pitched around two errors. He walked one and struck out nine. Jenkins, who was 8-1 with an 0.88 ERA as senior at Parkland and was The Morning Call’s pitcher of the year, threw 71 of his 104 pitches for strikes.
“This one was pretty special,” the LaSalle University-bound Jenkins said. “I love playing for these coaches and with my teammates. They’ve been great. This is our first regional as a team and it was their first as a coaching staff, so I wanted to get it.”
Described by manager Tom Kahn as calm, cool and collected, Jenkins set down Muhlenberg’s lineup in order three times over the final four innings. His toughest inning came in the first when he worked around a leadoff single and a two-out error. He also pitched around a leadoff error in the eighth.
Jenkins was aided by center fielder Cullen Wadsworth’s tremendous diving catch in deep left-center field with one out in the ninth inning.
“I was mixing it up a lot, trying to keep them off-balance and let my defense work,” said Jenkins, whose repertoire of pitches includes a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. “I felt good from the start. I haven’t thrown too much this summer so it felt good to be out there.”
“You can’t say enough about Michael,” Kahn said. “He’s a beast. He’s unbelievable. In the second inning he lets a bunt fall so he can pick it up and turn a double play. He’s such a heady player and he’s always calm out there.”
South Parkland (16-7-1) needed Jenkins to be at his best because its offense struggled against Muhlenberg starter Braydon Keller.
In fact, Keller matched Jenkins zero-for-zero for the first five innings. South Parkland…