Hudspeth dazzles on the mound at Reagan

Published 2:06 pm Thursday, March 19, 2015

By Brian Pitts

Davie Enterprise Record

Zach Hudspeth of Davie’s junior varsity baseball team made everyone forget the 6-1 season-opening loss to Reagan. The sophomore lefty pitched a two-hitter and led Davie to a 5-2 payback win.

“Hudspeth was resilient from the first inning through the seventh,” coach Jason Harbour said.

“Hudspeth pitched a gem,” coach Dan Lawlor said.

In the first of three games last week, the War Eagles got off to a rough start, losing 6-1 to the visiting Raiders. It was also the Central Piedmont Conference opener.

It was the Davie JV’s worst loss since 2013 (13-0 to North Davidson). The previous four losses were by two, one, three and two runs.

Two Davie pitchers combined for 140-plus pitches and Davie only managed four hits. Tyler Roberts was 2 for 2 with a double and a walk. Cody Hendrix and McKay Chamberlain were both 1 for 3.

“We didn’t hit the ball very well,” Lawlor said. “We’ve got some work cut out for us. The freshmen played like freshmen – they were deer in headlights. And the sophomores played like freshmen.”

Davie scratched out a run to tie the game at 1. Roberts roped a 3-2 pitch to left, then stole second. He moved to third on a ground out by Guy Brunelli and eventually scored.

But that was that for Davie.

“We made some nice plays,” Lawlor said. “There were some nice moments but there weren’t enough.”

In nonconference action, Davie unloaded on a feeble Salisbury at Mando Field, winning 15-5.

Jake Barneycastle went 3 for 4 with three steals as Davie erupted for six runs in the first and four in the second. Hudspeth was 2 for 2 with two RBIs. Hendrix was 1 for 4 with four RBIs.

The downside is Davie’s pitching wasn’t anything great. Jesse Draughn worked the final two innings as the second reliever, and he “is the only pitcher who has thrown strikes (consistently in the first two games),” Lawlor said. “We’re having trouble throwing the ball over the plate. Their five runs were primarily on walks and hit by pitches.”

Hudspeth certainly lifted Davie’s spirits, making his mound debut in spectacular fashion at Reagan. Going the distance, he allowed one earned run and struck out nine to offset five walks (one intentional) as Davie emerged victorious in a 5-2 thriller.

The win evened Davie’s CPC mark at 1-1.

“Hudspeth threw hard and threw strikes,” Harbour said. “He did exactly what we needed him to do. Late in the game, he showed some backbone and got the outs when we needed them.”

Davie jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first as Hendrix’s double and Hudspeth’s single plated the runs. Reagan got its only two hits in the fourth, scoring once to cut Davie’s lead in half. Hudspeth got the third out with the bases full.

Reagan tied the game at 2 in the fifth. It was an unearned run that crossed on a swinging bunt.

The War Eagles regained a 3-2 lead in the sixth on Brunelli’s RBI ground out. They got insurance in the seventh on Jake Byrd’s two-run single.

“I was proud of them,” Harbour said.

Davie finished with 10 hits, including two each from Byrd and Ben Summers. Hendrix singled, walked and was hit by a pitch. Chamberlain, Cody Smith, Brunelli, Hudspeth and Roberts had one hit apiece.

But the story was Hudspeth, who wrapped up his complete game with flair.

“I was concerned about his pitch count, and I mentioned to him that if a runner gets on in the sixth or seventh that he’s coming out,” Lawlor said. “He replied he was going to finish the game, and he threw (only) 18 pitches in the last two innings.”