Baseball scratches out win in 8th

Published 8:25 am Thursday, April 13, 2017

Davie’s varsity baseball team was hitless for six innings against Mt. Tabor. Never mind scoring a run. It was hard enough to reach first. Davie would have had a flaming RV of a problem if it weren’t for pitcher Carson Whisenhunt, who twirled an eight-inning shutout.

Whisenhunt deserved a gold star for this one. He had one of Davie’s two hits, a leadoff single in the eighth, and the War Eagles would grind out a 1-0 home victory on April 7.

The teams played twice in four days. Tabor’s Chris Moutos tied down Davie in the first meeting in Winston-Salem on April 4, pitching a complete-game five-hitter in the Spartans’ 6-2 win.

It was the fourth win in five games for Tabor, which overcame an early-season, four-game losing streak. It was the fourth straight loss for Davie.

About the only bright spot was leadoff man Chris Reynolds, who went 2 for 3 with a walk and solo homer. His average rose to .400 (18 for 45). He owns two of the team’s four homers. He leads the team in average, runs (13), hits (18) and walks/hit by pitches (eight).

“I’ve coached somewhere since 1990,” coach Bobby Byerly told the Winston-Salem Journal. “He’s probably the best kid I’ve ever coached.”

Cody Hendrix went 1 for 2 with a double and RBI. He’s been productive since an 0-for-9 start, going 10 for 28 (.357) between games four and 14. Beau Byerly has improved drastically since hitting .229 (8-35) as a junior. After this game, he was the only other regular over .300, with 12 hits in 38 at-bats for a .315 average.


When you score three runs in two games, you’ll take a split every time. Davie’s offense struggled for the umpteenth time at home against Tabor, the latest black marks being two hits that dropped Davie’s average to .216 and its hits-per-game average falling to 5.4.

But the War Eagles could exhale when they scratched in the bottom of the eighth to win 1-0 – the second 1-0 win of the season. Davie beat Owen White and Carson by that score on Feb. 28.

Whisenhunt and Tabor’s Jimmy Hylton hummed along almost perfectly in a game that lasted just one hour, 26 minutes. Whisenhunt pitched a two-hitter with one walk in an 87-pitch performance. He induced 15 ground-ball outs. He enjoyed his third complete game in seven starts. He shoved his second shutout. And he improved to 4-2 with a 2.15 ERA. Davie (7-8 overall, 4-6 Central Piedmont Conference) has only three wins when the sophomore lefty hasn’t hurled.

“This and the West Forsyth game were probably the two best games that I’ve seen him throw,” Byerly said. “He was dead on. I think he went to three balls twice in the first three innings and never after that.”

Hylton carried Tabor. The righthander tossed a two-hitter over 7 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out six in 79 pitches. He got 12 ground-ball outs.

“He was very effective,” Byerly said. “He had three pitches. Not a lot of velocity, but dang, he did his job. His fastball did have a lot of run. He kept us offbalance.”

In the Davie second, Hendrix was hit by a pitch, but his courtesy runner was picked off.

In the Tabor third, Reynolds, the shortstop, made a dazzling, spinning play in the middle of the infield.

“I call him (Derek) Jeter,” Byerly said. “He does that all the time in practice, just messing around. That’s his Jeter play. He likes doing it. I guess it kind of paid off that he does it in practice because he did it in the game. When you’ve got a guy throwing a lot of ground balls, you’ve got to do that.”

Tabor had a little something cooking in the fourth. With two outs, a walk and hit batsmen put runners at first and second. A popup to Reynolds ended the threat.

In the Davie fourth, Reynolds tried to get something going, but his liner went straight to the second baseman. When the fourth ended, neither team had a hit.

In the fifth, Tabor’s first hit was an innocent bouncer that nicked off Whisenhunt’s glove on the shortstop side of the mound. No need to worry. Moments later, Whisenhunt picked off the runner.

The first five innings were done in less than an hour. In the Tabor sixth, third baseman Landon Bandy gloved a tough one-hopper.

“He caught a seed,” Byerly said. “I was picking on him and said he didn’t even know he caught it. He played very well over there. If you play clean defensively, you give yourself a chance.”

With two outs in the seventh, Tabor hit a soft liner to left-center for its second and final hit. With one out in the bottom half, Bandy lined one over the third baseman’s head for Davie’s first hit. Bandy is the team’s No. 3 hitter with a .275 average, trailing Reynolds’ .375 and Byerly’s .292. Unfortunately, Bandy got caught stealing.

In the eighth, Davie finally broke through against Hylton. Whisenhunt helped himself with a line drive that nipped off the top of the first baseman’s glove.

“Sometimes when you hit as a pitcher you take the pressure off,” Byerly said. “Our philosophy is once you’re on the bump, that’s your job and everything else is secondary. So take the pressure off yourself and it’s icing on the cake to be able to hit as a pitcher. And he relaxed that last time and squared one up.”

Hendrix worked a fullcount walk, taking a pitch down and in. Hylton got a strikeout for out one. Then Byerly summoned Ben Summers as a pinch hitter. The result was a walk-off error, but give Summers credit for making something happen. It appeared the shortstop was trying to field the grounder and touch second at the same time, but the ball got through him and courtesy-runner Michael Shelton scored easily from second.

“(The shortstop) was trying to take it himself,” Byerly said. “About the time he stepped on the bag, it squirted underneath him.”

Tabor slipped to 6-8, 5-5 as the Spartans and Davie split two games for the third year in a row.

“Both teams made the other pitcher look like Nolan Ryan, but that’s just baseball,” Byerly said. “Some days you hit it and some days you don’t. We’ve just had a lot more where we didn’t (hit) than we have lately.”

The War Eagles stand in fifth place. North Davidson is 7-1, Reagan 6-2, West Forsyth 5-2 and Tabor 5-5. Only three teams from the CPC are guaranteed playoff berths, but a postseason entry is within reach. Davie has two league games left, against last-place Parkland, so it should end up 6-6. If Davie were to win the CPC Tournament, it would grab the No. 2 seed.

“If we win out, we would have a good opportunity as a wild card,” he said. “Every game is crucial at this point. A game like this could springboard you and you start playing a little better. We’ll keep chugging.”