Scott throws gem, Davie sweeps Reynolds

Published 10:15 am Thursday, March 17, 2016

Just enough offense and a brilliant pitching performance by Jalen Scott was enough to help Davie’s varsity baseball team complete a sweep over Reynolds. Barely.

Scott went the distance in 88 pitches – outdueling Reynolds’ own complete-game pitcher, Bo Kenan – and Ryan Harrell sparked a fifth-inning rally as Davie survived 2-1.

“Jalen threw a gem,” Davie coach Bobby Byerly said. “It was one of the best outings I’ve seen in a long time.”

The first meeting – on March 8 at Mando Field in the Central Piedmont Conference opener for both teams – saw Davie win, 12-2 in six innings, with little trouble. The War Eagles outhit Reynolds 10-3 and played flawless defense while Reynolds racked up six errors.

Craig Colbourne (2 for 2, two RBIs, double, walk, HPB) and Nathan Harrell (3-4, five RBIs, two doubles) helped Davie pull away with four at-bats in which it scored two or more runs. Davie got one hit from Scott (1-3), McKay Chamberlain (1-1), Ryan Harrell (1-4) and Mitchell McGee (1-3). Although Brandon Lankford was hitless in one at-bat, he scored three runs, walked twice and was hit by a pitch.

“Nathan hit a couple screamers,” Byerly said. “He hit two foul that were way gone. They were long strikes. He looked real good at the plate.”

Byerly was not totally pleased. He said early on Davie could have had a better approach against Reynolds starter Luke Stephens, who lasted 3 1/3 innings. His defense started sluggishly as well.

“They started a little freshman that’s going to be good in time,” he said. “In the early innings, we were ripping everything foul down the third-base line. We made a couple (defensive) mental mistakes in the first inning. If it had been a tighter game, it could have hurt us. Just little things we’ve got to polish.

“By the third inning, we settled down and played well. We started thinking about hitting up the middle, and we eventually plated some and started looking a little better.”

Isaac Campbell cruised to the win, allowing three hits in five innings and striking out 10. Fifty-eight of his 95 pitches were strikes. Andrew Davidson closed it out, throwing more pitches during warmups than he did in the game. Five of his six pitches were strikes.

“He’s got that knuckle-dragger going, like Gene Garber (the former longtime reliever for the Atlanta Braves),” he said. “He comes from his ankles.”

Davie got some redemption after losing two of three to Reynolds in 2015. Davie lost 2-0 and 1-0 before edging the Demons 6-5 in the CPC Tournament.

Davie Wins Game 2

If you watched game two at Reynolds on March 10, you mostly watched Scott and Kenan.

After making two relief appearances, Scott made his first start with coaches from Winston-Salem State on hand to scout. He tossed a five-hitter with one walk and seven strikeouts to help the War Eagles escape 2-1. Of his 88 pitches, 65 were strikes.

“I was working ahead of hitters,” Scott told the Winston-Salem Journal. “Other than that one bad pitch where they put a run on the board … I was trying to make them fish for it. And Reynolds fished for it, so it turned into a pretty good night.”

Scott induced 13 ground outs and threw 23 first-pitch strikes to 27 batters. Kenan did an admirable job for the Demons, going seven innings with 49 strikes out of 71 pitches.

“It was nip and tuck,” Byerly said. “It was obviously a pitchers’ battle. Jalen’s changeup was nasty. They had a guy that kept us off-stride, low in the zone, and we just couldn’t string two hits together. He’s one of those junk-ball pitchers who has three or four pitches and he comes from two or three different angles. It seemed like we’d always get the leadoff on and then we’d have a negative at-bat. That’s to (Kenan’s) credit.”

The game was torture for the War Eagles. If they plan to win the CPC championship, they needed a sweep here. And they found themselves down 1-0 in the third when lefthanded Laney Orr socked a home run to right field. Orr is a future North Carolina Tar Heel.

“Jalen got one a little up to Orr,” Byerly said. “That’s really the only mistake he made. I’m going to tell you what, Orr’s legit. You talk about smooth as silk with the bat. He’s one of those you better not make a mistake to. If you do, you’re going to pay. I think he’s the most natural hitter in our league.”

Davie rallied in the fifth. Ryan Harrell opened with a single to left-center. After twin brother Nathan reached on an error, Tyler Roberts was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Mitchell McGee’s grounder to short resulted in a low throw to first, tying the game at 1 and keeping the bases full with no one out. Chris Reynolds provided the game-winning RBI with a sac fly.

“I just knew we were going to fight,” R. Harrell told the Journal. “We’re a scrappy team. Our defense is there. (The offense is) what we’ve got to focus on.”

Kenan worked out of trouble in the seventh. Roberts and McGee were hit by pitches and Reynolds put down a sac bunt. Reynolds coach Doug Welch ordered an intentional walk to Scott to load the bases. Kenan made the strategy work as he got a strikeout and a fly out.

R. Harrell had half of Davie’s hits, going 2 for 2 with a walk. Reynolds (1-2) and Roberts (1-1, two HPBs) had the others. Davie was outhit 5-4, but it overcame that by playing error-less defense. By contrast, Reynolds hurt itself with two errors.

“Kenan was awesome,” Welch told the Journal. “He had his stuff. He was just phenomenal and he never lost his composure in that fifth inning.”

While Reynolds fell to 1-3 overall, Davie improved to 4-1. The War Eagles are already 2-1 in one-run games, after going 3-4 in such games in ‘15.