Efficiency was the key word for the first event of 2019 Baseball Fest.

Fort Atkinson pitcher Austin Paul was exactly that for the Generals in their 6-1 victory over the Jefferson Blue Devils on Thursday in Home Talent Night League action at Jones Park.

This game took place within the 18th annual Baseball Fest, however, it was not part of the 38th annual Fort Atkinson Generals Tournament.

Paul struck out six batters and walked one in seven innings of work. He gave up a single run in the fourth inning, which was the only inning he faced more than four batters.

“He only threw 84 pitches in seven innings, I believe,” player/manager Sam Hartwick said. “For him to get ahead and not get behind 2-0, 3-0, that’s a big step for him to make his pitches and keep a good Jefferson lineup off balance.”

Paul shut down a Jefferson lineup that scored 11 runs in a loss on Sunday to Albion.

“He was a little wild, but I think that really helped him tonight,” Jefferson manager Ryan Wagner said. “He kept our hitters off balance a little bit and did a really good job after the performance we had on Sunday against Albion.”

The Generals did more than enough in the third inning to make sure Paul was comfortable and that his start didn’t go to waste. They scored four runs on three singles and a home run.

Danny Tabaska led off the frame with a single and was bunted over by Paul. Matt Sweeney singled to move Tabaska to third base before Josh Crandall laid down a bunt to give Fort Atkinson the first run of the game.

Ty Schieber followed that with a full-count, RBI single — his second single of the game. Schieber trotted home on a Chase Davis home run to give Fort Atkinson a commanding 4-0 lead.

“We just got guys on base and kept putting pressure on them and when we do that, I know we’re going to have an inning like that eventually,” Hartwick said. “We’ve been very efficient with getting our runners in this year and having Chase Davis hitting a two-run home run goes a long ways toward us being efficient.”

Aldair Ramirez got the start for Jefferson and went the distance. Ramirez gave up seven hits and one walk in six innings for the Blue Devils.

“He’s a competitor and he’s young, so once he trusts his stuff and gets consistent with work every week, I think he’ll be a good pitcher for us,” Wagner said.

The victory was the first Night League game of the season for the Generals. They’ll continue their season at Cambridge on Tuesday, June 18, beginning at 6 p.m.

For Jefferson, it was the second Night League game of the season (the Blue Devils defeated Utica, 10-0, on May 22). The Blue Devils will continue their season on the road against Stoughton Thursday, June 20, at 6 p.m.

Following the Fort Atkinson Generals’ first Night League game of the season against Jefferson, the Cambridge Blues and Johnson Creek squared off in the Consolation championship game of the 38th annual Fort Atkinson Generals tournament.

The game concluded after deadline for this edition of the Daily Union.

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