Baseball team stays hot in conference opener

Published 9:49 am Thursday, March 28, 2019

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Carson Whisenhunt pitched four one-hit innings as Davie’s varsity baseball team buried host Reynolds 10-0 in the Central Piedmont Conference opener on March 19.

That isn’t exactly breaking news for the senior lefty. He ran his record to 4-0 and kept his ERA at 0.00.

Even though Reynolds fell to 2-3 overall, there are no gimmes in the CPC. The Demons were coming off an 8-5 win over always-talented High Point Christian Academy. Last year Davie and Reynolds split, with Reynolds taking the first game 3-1 and Davie answering with a 4-2 win in the rematch. In 2017, the War Eagles had to scratch and claw for 4-3 and 3-1 wins over Reynolds.

Whisenhunt walked three and struck out seven before handing the ball to Justin Chaffin. The one hit allowed was a leadoff single in the third.

“The kid got a barrel on a high fastball and hit it over the first baseman’s head,” coach Bradley Rudisill said. “They’re not a bad hitting team. They hit the ball well against High Point Christian, especially the top five in their lineup.”

Then-unbeaten Davie pushed a 1-0 lead to 3-0 in the third. Garrett Chandler bunted his way aboard. With one out, Aaron Williams singled to deep short. Whisenhunt followed with a run-scoring single to right. The next run crossed when Joe Johnson reached on an error.

Davie broke it open during a six-run fourth. Michael Shelton and Hunter Bowles drew walks before Chandler doubled to left. After Anthony Azar walked, Williams singled to left.

Then came the at-bat of the game. After fouling off five pitches, Whisenhunt blasted a three-run homer to right.

“The kid kept coming with the same pitch,” Rudisill said. “The foul balls were moonshots, at least 400 feet. He hit some absolute rockets for foul balls. He finally spun it one time and threw it for a ball. Carson finally kept one fair and did huge damage. That took the air out of them.”

Chaffin finished off the Demons in the fifth, only needing nine pitches to nail down the staff’s third shutout. He hasn’t allowed a run in three relief outings.

Chandler went 3 for 3 with a double, triple and two RBIs. Williams went 2 for 3. Whisenhunt went 2 for 3 with four RBIs. Azar doubled and walked. Johnson doubled and Bowles walked twice.

Chandler’s triple was to right-center. He’s hitting .416, has nine walks and is 5 for 5 over two games.

“It probably could have been an inside-the-park home run, but I held him up at third,” Rudisill said.

More about Davie’s offense: Williams lifted his average to .423 and extended his hitting streak to nine games, the longest since Chris Reynolds’ 12-gamer in the 2016-17 seasons. It’s the longest in-season streak since Charlie Muchukot’s nine-gamer in 2013. Azar’s seven-game hit streak has his average at .347. Not only does Whisenhunt own both of Davie’s homers on the season, he’s hitting .409. Bowles and Johnson are hitting .400 and .333, respectively.

The War Eagles beat Reynolds for the seventh time in eight meetings and remained unbeaten at 9-0. They did not face Luke Stephens, the ace pitcher who is headed to Wofford.

“They said he’s hurt,” Rudisill said. “He played left field. The guys they threw held down Grimsley for a little while and threw good innings against Northwest Guilford.”

The day before the CPC opener, Davie notched a No. 3 national ranking from The rankings included all classifications and public/private schools.

“When those rankings come out, you never know how they’re going to respond,” Rudisill said. “I said: ‘Polls and rankings don’t win games. You’ve still got to pitch, hit and make the plays.’”


John Davenport pitched six shutout innings in a nonconference home game with Oak Grove on March 20. Troy Clary followed with two shutdown innings.

Alas, the whole thing was undone by an offense that pulled a no-show. Davie suffered its first loss in marathon fashion, 5-0 in 11 innings.

Two Oak Grove pitchers – the starter went eight and the reliever three – turned Davie’s bats off like a spigot. Azar had two of Davie’s five hits, nine fewer than the Grizzlies. Johnson, Shelton and Bowles had the other hits, while Whisenhunt walked three times.

Although it was a missed opportunity, Oak Grove (7-2, 6-1 Central Carolina 2-A Conference) is no slouch.

“Oak Grove is a solid ballclub,” Rudisill said.

Davenport, who has made two relief appearances, wasn’t awed by his first varsity start on the hill. He scattered four hits in six innings, lowered his ERA from 3.50 to 1.40 and didn’t permit a runner to reach second until the fourth. The no-decision left his record at 1-0.

“I was blown away,” Rudisill said. “He threw really well. If I got four innings from him, I felt like we could piece things together,, and he gave me six. We should win when your starting pitcher gives you six scoreless innings.”

Clary put up zeroes in the seventh and eighth to extend the staff’s scoreless streak to 17 innings. Three more relievers would follow.

“Troy has been solid,” Rudisill said. “We haven’t really needed him from the situations that we’ve had. He pounded the zone and threw three pitches for strikes. He came in in a big situation in the seventh (against the heart of the order) and got them 1-2-3. He faced adversity in the eighth but was able to pitch out of it. I didn’t want to take him out, but I had to kill my DH and bring Carson in the game. To be able to bring Carson in the game, I had to bring in another pitcher.”

In the top of the 11th, single, walk, bunt hit, single, single, bases-loaded walk, out, bases-loaded walk and single added up to five runs.

Azar (.357) swiped two bags and kept his hitting streak alive (eight). But aside from that, Davie’s offense left a lot to be desired on this night. With 24 popouts, the average tumbled from .348 to .316.

“We had plenty of chances to win it,” Rudisill said. “We just couldn’t come up with a big hit.”