Baseball digging a deeper hole

Published 9:05 am Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Davie varsity baseball team is not buried yet, but the hole got deeper against visiting Reagan on April 28.

Not long ago, the War Eagles were surprising everybody with a 6-1 run that included a pair of three-game winning streaks. But that stretch has been followed by crisis (4-3 loss at East Forsyth) after crisis (6-3 home loss to East Forsyth) after crisis (6-0 loss to Reagan).

Davie’s fourth straight setback dropped it to 9-9 overall. The War Eagles entered the week fourth in the Central Piedmont Conference standings. East has clinched first at 8-1. Reagan is 5-4, West Forsyth 5-5 and Davie 4-5. Reynolds (3-6) and Glenn (3-7) are fifth and sixth.

The offense did not show up against senior righthander Garrett Saylor, who went the distance, finished with a four-hitter and threw 61 strikes in 93 pitches.

The top of Davie’s order – Hite Merrifield, Landon Bandy and Cody Hendrix – all went 1 for 3. No. 9 man Garrett Chandler (1-3) had the other hit.

The Raiders, whose fourth straight win lifted them to 14-7 overall, didn’t exactly tear it up offensively, but they were economical with seven hits.

Two walks and a passed ball set up a two-run single in the top of the first. Reagan pushed its lead to 3-0 in the third.

Davie had one chance to make it a game, and that came in the third. Cody Smith walked, Chandler singled with one out for Davie’s first hit and Bandy singled with two outs to load the bases. A ground out ended the threat.

The other six at-bats were a collective dud.

After Carson Whisenhunt (2-3, 2.72) went five innings of five-hit ball with three runs allowed (two earned), Spencer Nifong worked a 1-2-3 sixth in his first relief appearance after making six starts.

But Reagan broke it open in the seventh. A walk and error brought up Saylor with two aboard. Saylor tormented Davie with his right arm and with his bat, launching a three-run homer in that seventh-inning at-bat and going 3 for 4.

Notes: Merrifield hit safely for the 15th time in 18 games. He has a four-game hitting streak and a team-best .396 average. … The other top averages belong to Whisenhunt (.375), Hendrix (.333), Grayson Keaton (.320) and Bandy (.307). … Davie has a three-game losing streak to Reagan. … The Raiders posted their first shutout win since the season opener.