Davie baseball tops West

Published 10:31 am Thursday, April 7, 2016

Committing five errors, Davie’s varsity baseball team gave West Forsyth the game at Mando Field on March 22.

Committing six errors, West gave it right back to Davie when the teams met in Clemmons on March 24.

The split left Davie 5-1 in the Central Piedmont Conference, one game back in the loss column to North Davidson (4-0). West Forsyth is third at 3-1.

In game one, Davie had as many errors as hits and lost 3-1. West, on the other hand, was flawless in the field. “We didn’t make plays behind (starter Isaac Campbell), which added insult to injury,” Davie coach Bobby Byerly said.

In game two, West had twice as many errors as runs. Davie, by contrast, had two harmless miscues. “We just couldn’t catch it,” West coach Brad Bullard told the Winston-Salem Journal. “You can’t do that against a good team.”

One day before taking on West, the War Eagles built a 6-0 lead at Carson and held on 6-5 to hand the Cougars just their second loss in eight games. The offensive stars were Craig Colbourne (3 for 3, home run, four RBIs) and Paul Davenport (3-4, double). Nathan Harrell added two hits in three at-bats as Davie (7-1 overall) notched its seventh win in a row to extend the longest win streak in four years.

Colbourne smashed a two-run homer in the first. Tyler Roberts went five innings to get the win. Two relievers struggled during Carson’s five-run sixth and closer N. Harrell faced a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the seventh. He got a strikeout on four pitches to finally shut the door.

Game 1 Vs. WF

In game one against West at Mando Field, Alex Vanderstok was a one-man wrecking crew for the Titans, pitching a complete-game five-hitter in 94 efficient pitches, walking none and striking out six in the 3-1 West win. Oh, and he also went 3 for 4 with two RBIs.

“He’s a beast,” Byerly said of the Appalachian State signee. “He threw hard. If anyone would have seen the play he made on a swinging bunt down the third-base line, you know he’s a gamer. He’s got a lot of heart, he gives it everything he’s got and leaves it on the field.”

Davie got on the board in the first. Jalen Scott singled with one out and stole second, then scored on the eighth pitch of an at-bat by Davenport, who singled to center. But Davie missed an opportunity in the second, wasting Roberts’ one-out triple.

A two-out error allowed West to tie the game in the fifth. Campbell worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fifth, but he was chased with one out in the sixth, when West broke the tie and took the 3-1 lead. The decisive blow came from Vanderstok, who roped the third pitch from reliever Nathan Harrell to right-center for a two-run double.

Davie did not threaten in the final two innings, going down 1-2-3 in the sixth and leaving Roberts at first in the seventh. Roberts had two of Davie’s five hits.

Campbell did not have a terrible outing (5.1 innings, six hits, three runs, two earned, four walks, six Ks), but it was subpar by his standards. He threw 61 strikes with 45 balls and only 14 first-pitch strikes to 29 batters.

“He didn’t have one of his better games,” Byerly said. “He had his fastball but he could never locate anything offspeed. The good teams will sit dead-red fastball. That’s what they eventually did and they got to us. They had runners in scoring position every inning. They kept the pressure on us.

“Maybe that’s a character-builder right there. Some games you win, and some games you learn something.”

Davie was missing leadoff man Chris Reynolds (flu) for the second game. That erased a .380 stick (8 for 21) from the lineup. Davie fell to 4-1 in the CPC after getting off to the best league start in 16 years. It also lost to West for the sixth time in seven meetings.

Game 2 Vs. WF

The error shoe was on the other foot in Clemmons on March 24, and Davie took full advantage, winning 8-3.

Both teams were killing the ball in the early going. In the top of the first, Colbourne had a two-out RBI double down the left-field line. Then Lankford delivered a run-scoring double. In the West first, it got a game-tying, two-run homer from – who else? – Vanderstok. Ryan Harrell answered with a solo blast in the top of the second. West’s response: solo homer in the bottom of the second to tie it at 3-3.

“Jalen Scott got two offspeed pitches up,” Byerly said of his starting pitcher. “It is a cracker box there. Vanderstok’s homer was legit. The other one hit the scoreboard. But it is a field we all play on.”

Scott found a rhythm in the third and cuffed West the rest of the way. He walked one, threw 77 strikes out of 104 pitches and produced 24 first-pitch strikes to help Davie (8-2, 5-1 CPC) end a four-game losing streak on the Titans’ field.

“Somebody from the West side said (early in the game): ‘We’ve got him rattled now,’” Byerly said. “One of our guys said: ‘They don’t know Jalen. Jalen doesn’t rattle.’

“After (the two homers), he settled in and threw great again. (The strike-to-ball ratio) is Greg Maddux (type stuff). It seemed like every batter was 0-2 or 1-2. It was unbelievable. It’s a big difference when you get ahead of hitters and you make the majority of the routine plays.”

Davie, meanwhile, roughed up two West pitchers, with the Titans’ hurting themselves as well.

In the third, Davie scored two runs without a hit. Two errors and two walks allowed McKay Chamberlain and Lankford to cross the plate. Jake Barneycastle stole second and came around to make it 6-3 in the fourth. After an error, a walk and a wild pitch in the seventh, Beau Byerly broke West’s back with a two-run single to right-center.

“Over there you worry if you don’t have at least a four-run edge,” coach Byerly said.

Lankford had two of Davie’s seven hits, singling, doubling and driving in two runs as Davie picked up its first road win over West in four years.

Reynolds missed his third game with the flu, but N. Harrell was a capable replacement in the leadoff spot. After batting in the bottom half of the order for seven games, he went 4 for 9 at the top of the order against Carson and West (8-3, 3-1).