North Davie baseball claims county title

Published 8:43 am Thursday, May 17, 2018

North Davie’s baseball team went 4-1 against county competition and posted its most wins in three years. Ellis finished at least six games above .500 for the eighth consecutive year.

South Davie was blown out at Summit on April 30. Summit blasted five home runs to offset 3-for-4 performances by Trot Byerly and JT Bumgarner, who cracked two homers. Wesley Mason was 2 for 3. Daniel Horton and Cole West had one hit apiece.


North Davie and Ellis met in a rubber match on April 30 at Ellis. North won 4-3 in nine innings in the first meeting; Ellis won 5-4 in the second matchup. North was the decisive winner in the third meeting, romping 16-4 in five innings to hand Ellis its worst defeat in seven years (15-1 to Brown in 2011).

Daniel Lawson’s heroics stopped Ellis’ winning streak at seven. He struck out eight in five innings as the starting pitcher. Offensively, he went 3 for 4 with a home run, a double and five RBIs.

“Daniel came to the ballpark and meant business,” North coach Trevor Gooch said. “We started Daniel (on the mound) for the first time all year, and he did a good job. He threw hard strikes and kept the ball low.”

In the second, Lawson’s three-run homer to right-center gave North a 5-3 lead. It was the fifth time he left the yard this season.

Lawson, Dane Porter, Connor Keaton, JT Richards and Davin Whitaker had RBIs during a nine-run fourth that made it 14-3.

Mason Caudle (2-3), Richards (2-4, two doubles, two RBIs), Whitaker (2-3, three RBIs) and Jackson Sink (2-4, two RBIs) led the onslaught.    

“It was a big win for our kids,” Gooch said. “We claimed the county championship.”


Bumgarner roped a two-out, three-run double to give South a 7-5, fourth-inning lead over host Ellis on May 2. But in the bottom of the fourth, Ellis took advantage of South mistakes and wound up beating the Tigers 18-7 in six innings.

Tyler Steele’s home run was the highlight of Ellis’ 10-run fourth.

“We should have come back in the dugout in the top of the fifth still leading 7-5,” South coach Todd Bumgarner said. “Instead we were down 15-7.”

Ellis scored all those runs on three hits. Eleven walks and three hit batsmen attributed to South’s misery. Cameron Wall, Daniel Reichard and Steele had the hits for Ellis.  Wall was the winning pitcher, striking out 10 in four innings. Steele got the save, fanning five of six batters as Ellis improved to 8-2.

“Those two have been tough this year,” Ellis coach Mike Dinkins said. “Cameron is really going to help the high school.”

South, which finished 1-11, actually outhit Ellis, with Byerly going 2-3 with a deep fly out to center. Bumgarner was also 2-3. Mason was 1-3. Byerly pitched the first three innings, a frustrating experience.

“Trot pitched good,” Bumgarner said. “The first five runs they got were gifts.”

Dinkins cited Ellis center fielder Jake Powers and South left fielder Cole Warner for outstanding catches.

“Jake gloved (Byerly’s long drive) right at the fence,” he said. “(Warner) had a diving catch that saved two runs in the second. He also had a shoestring catch in the fourth down the left-field line.”


Sink pitched 6 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts, and he also went 2 for 2 with two RBIs as North capped its season with an impressive 3-1 win at Forbush on May 3.

“Jackson was a workhorse,” Gooch said after North finished 7-4-1. “He had command of all his pitches and was hitting his spots.”

Keaton earned the save by getting the last out. Richards was 2-4 with two runs. Mason Shermer and Whitaker had one hit each.

Sink’s single plated Richards to give North a 1-0 lead in the third. North bumped the lead to 3-0 in the fifth, when Sink’s single drove in Richards and Shermer’s sac fly pushed Whitaker across.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, with North clinging to the 3-1 lead, Gooch turned to Keaton. He induced a fly out to center fielder Caudle to end the game.

“The defensive standout was Lawson by working hard behind the plate, by framing pitches and blocking balls in the dirt,” Gooch said. “I’m really proud of this team for playing sound baseball. We performed well in close games by moving runners with bunts and scoring them with timely hits. This team was real fun to coach.”


Ellis’ road game on May 8 was a forgettable 9-3 loss to Forbush. It was the second loss in three games following the seven-game winning streak.

Ellis faced a 9-0 deficit through the sixth. Justin Hayes’ line-drive single to center got Ellis on the board in the last inning. Two runs scored when Will Allard reached on an error.


Ellis mashed hapless Elkin 12-3 on the road on May 9 to close the season.

“They finished the season with only nine players,” Dinkins said. “Their 10th one broke his thumb sliding into home the game before. I told their coach: ‘I’ll try to get most of my kids in.’ So I subbed in the fifth.”

The Jaguars scored multiple runs in five of seven at-bats. Steele (10 Ks in five innings) and Wall (six Ks in two innings) dominated on the bump.

Caleb Stewart (3-5), Steele (2-4, homer) and Wall (2-5, homer) paced Ellis’ 15-hit attack. Ellis got one hit from Gavin Ledford (1-2, walk), Allard (1-2), Noah Harris (1-2), Reichard (1-3, walk), Hayes (1-3, two walks), Powers (1-3, double), Parker Simmons (1-3) and Bryson Parker (1-1).

The Jaguars went 9-3, the same record as last year. It marked the 10th winning season in 11 years. Dinkins, who is 110-36 as the only coach in Ellis history, closed the book on his 46th year in coaching.