JVs on 3-game win streat
Published 9:20 am Thursday, March 15, 2018
By Brian Pitts
Davie Enterprise Record
The Davie JV baseball team’s 3-0 burst last week was a testament to the pitching of Joe Johnson, John Davenport and Ethan Wilkins, Jack Reynolds’ wheels, and clutch hitting by Reed Cunningham, Wilkins and Hunter Meacham.
While the War Eagles breezed past South Iredell, they took a rocky road to victories over Lake Norman and Southeast Guilford.
Davie buried host South Iredell 12-0 in five innings on March 5. It exploded for five runs in the third and seven in the fifth by getting two hits each from Meacham, Bailey McKnight, Wilkins (three RBIs), Josh Westmoreland, Johnson and Reynolds. McKnight just missed a grand slam, hooking a blast foul down the right-field line.
“One through seven, we’re really starting to hit the ball,” coach Tim McKnight said.
After Johnson gave up two first-inning hits, he was overpowering on the hill. He didn’t allow another hit in five innings, walked one and struck out seven.
“We played well,” McKnight said.
There was a roller coaster of emotions during Davie’s 5-4 home win over Lake Norman on March 7.
After three scoreless innings, the War Eagles took command with a four-run fourth. They appeared to have the game wrapped up when it was still 4-0 through six.
But they came undone in the top of the seventh. The Wildcats tied the game with four unearned runs off Davenport, who was really, really good for six innings and lacked defensive support in the seventh. He gave up five hits in 6.2 innings.
“The defense let us down,” McKnight said. “We should have been done after four batters. We had a couple dropped balls and then the floodgates opened. We tried to give it away.
“John has thrown well in both of his games (including Carson). He had a shaky first and second inning, and then he was on cruise control from the third through the sixth. On a day when we needed him to go long, he did just that. I wanted so much for him to get the win.”
With the tiebreaking run at third and two outs, Zach Rodgers took the ball and responded with an inning-ending strikeout. He ended up the winner because of Reynolds and Cunningham’s offensive lifts in the bottom of the seventh.
Reynolds walked with one out and proceeded to show off his speed. The freshman stole second. With two outs, he stole third on his own – without a throw.
“The pitcher was getting into one-look-and-go,” McKnight said. “He wasn’t freezing him. We thought about stealing home, but we had a lefthanded hitter up.”
Cunningham hit a slow roller. It went through the third baseman’s legs. McKnight scored it an RBI hit, figuring he wouldn’t have thrown out Cunningham anyway.
Cunningham, who supplied a two-run knock in the fourth, finished with two hits and three RBIs. But it was the speed of Reynolds that set it up.
“Jack is very savvy and a very good base runner,” he said. “I was going to give him the steal sign the next pitch. Well, he beat me to it (and stole third).”
Southeast Guilford jumped on host Davie 3-0 in the top of the first on March 9. Wilkins took over on the mound in the fourth and disarmed the Falcons, sending Davie to a 6-3 win on March 9.
In four scoreless innings, Wilkins threw two-hit ball with two walks and six Ks.
“(Rodgers’) velocity is not his strong suit, and Ethan comes in throwing with pretty good velocity,” McKnight said. “It’s a good combination. John and Zach are more finesse. Joe and Ethan are more overpowering.”
Meacham’s two-run double in the bottom of the first got Davie back in the game at 3-2. The War Eagles surged ahead in a three-run fifth. Wilkins’ hit provided a 4-3 lead before Johnson’s two-run hit made it 5-3.
“Joe hit a missile (to center) that probably didn’t get more than knee high off the ground,” McKnight said.
Davie tacked on an insurance run in the sixth.
Johnson is a dangerous No. 3 batter. Meacham, the cleanup man, had half of Davie’s hits (two). While Davie only mustered four hits – Johnson and Wilkins had the others – the Falcons helped out with six walks and three errors.
Davie is 4-1 with a three-game winning streak.