Rudisill a winner in baseball debut

Published 10:48 am Thursday, March 7, 2019

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Davie’s varsity baseball team made quite a statement in the season opener – and Bradley Rudisill’s debut as War Eagle skipper.

Davie smothered visiting Carson 5-1 in the season opener on Feb. 27. The 3-A Cougars have been formidable for a long time, winning 20, 17, 19, 24, 24, 17, 18, 20 and 24 games between 2010-18.

Davie made the most of five hits (Carson only had three). A key factor was Davie’s zero errors to Carson’s three.

“They’re a really good team,” Rudisill said. “They threw Cole Hales (4 1/3 innings with one earned run), who is their No. 1 on the mound and a Coker commit. He threw multiple pitches for strikes.

“In the CPC, this is what you’re going to have to do. You have to battle and get that big hit when you need it.”

Davie prevailed because of timely hitting and sensational pitching. Carson Whisenhunt, who is headed to East Carolina, struck out nine and walked two in 4.1 scoreless innings. He only gave up two hits. Luke Barringer is a Catawba commit who homered the day before against South Rowan. Whisenhunt got him looking at strike three after walking him earlier.

“Carson struck out Barringer on three straight fastballs,” Rudisill said.

Jacob Campbell finished up in style, allowing one unearned run in 2.2 innings. He gave up one hit, walked one and fanned four. The Davie duo combined for 13 Ks.

“They both pitched lights out,” he said.

Hunter Bowles accounted for Davie’s first hit in the third, but it was 0-0 after three innings. Davie broke through in the fourth, when Aaron Williams tripled with one out and scored on Joe Johnson’s ground out.

Davie pulled away in the fifth. Campbell and Troy Clary reached on errors before Bowles knocked in one with a single. Anthony Azar singled and then Williams laced an RBI double as Davie surged to a 5-0 lead.

Williams went 2 for 3, Whisenhunt walked twice and Bowles went 2 for 2 with two steals.

“We didn’t tear the cover off the ball. We hit it enough,” Rudisill said.

Williams’ triple sailed over the right fielder. Bowles provided a big boost from the ninth spot in the order. And Clary executed a suicide squeeze play.

“Williams came up with a big triple that set things in motion,” he said. “Bowles came up big. Getting production out of the nine hole was really big for us. Clary got a bunt down. He went from the windup and he was pretty slow to the plate. I had Bowles on third and I felt confidence (in the suicide squeeze). They ended up throwing it away and we scored two off of it.”

The defensive highlight was outfielder Azar’s diving catch on a fourth-inning blooper.