By Brian Pitts
Davie Enterprise Record
One run. That’s all Ryan Foster needed as the Davie pitcher carried the War Eagles to a 1-0 win over visiting Northwest Guilford in the second round of the 4-A baseball playoffs.
The Vikings finished with a less-than-stellar 15-12 record, but they were a formidable foe when Keaton Haack was on the mound. Foster and Haack locked horns in a pitching duel for the ages, and Haack got the loss despite giving up two hits and one run that was unearned because of his own throwing error. Foster gave up five hits in his ninth complete game in 12 starts. Both pitchers walked one and struck out seven.
“They had a good one, but we had a good one going, too,” Davie coach Mike Herndon said.
The War Eagles, thanks to a sac fly from Taylor Garczynski to score Matt Vernon in the second inning, improved to 21-4 with their sixth straight win and 12th win in 13 games.
Foster got off to a shaky start - by his standards. He gave up a single in the first, two singles in the second and a single in the third.
“I was a little worried about Ryan because he didn’t have his best stuff and they were squaring some balls up pretty good,” Herndon said. “We made some plays. He didn’t have a real good bullpen.”
“One thing I always do is compete and give it my best effort,” Foster said. “Sometimes that’s better than having your best stuff and not competing. I didn’t have as much velocity on my fastball as I did against Butler (in an 8-1 win in the first round). My curveball wasn’t as sharp and my changeup wasn’t as good.”
But in the fifth, sixth and seventh, Foster showed why he’s tied for second in career wins at Davie. The moment of truth came in the fifth. After retiring the first two batters, a walk to the leadoff man, a single and an error - on a tough play in the hole - loaded the bases with Davie clinging to the 1-0 lead.
Davie fans howled in delight as Foster escaped the jam with a strikeout.
“That’s what makes him. He’s a dadgum winner,” Herndon said. “Sometimes he doesn’t have his best stuff, but he competes and battles each and every pitch.”
“To be honest, I was pretty confident in my ability to get that kid out (with the bases loaded),” Foster said of the swinging strike on a curveball. “That was a pitch I had struggled with. That might have been the point where I really found it and started believing a little more.”
After the big strikeout, Foster was locked in. He fanned the side in order in the sixth, and got Northwest 1-2-3 in the seventh.
By recording the staff’s sixth shutout, he notched win No. 22 to tie John McDaniel for No. 2 all time, one from John Parker’s record. But Foster, at 9-3 with a 1.30 ERA, is the first pitcher in Davie’s 56-year history to post nine victories in two different years ...