Bottom guys produce; ‘Whiz’ 8-0

Published 10:43 am Thursday, May 9, 2019

How dangerous is your lineup when the team’s top sticks – Aaron Williams and Carson Whisenhunt – go 1 for 7 and Davie’s baseball team still scores in four of six at-bats and has a big offensive night in an 8-4 win over East Forsyth on May 1?

The Central Piedmont Conference Tournament semifinals were held at Reagan. The top-seeded War Eagles rose to 21-2 with their fifth straight win. The Eagles, who tied for fourth in the regular season, dropped to 12-13.

The win – which was payback for a bitter 12-10, eight-inning loss at East on April 11, when Davie suffered its only loss in the CPC – was defined by the 7-8-9 hitters in the order. Troy Clary (2-2, walk, triple, double, stolen base), Jacob Campbell (1-2, two RBIs, double) and Hunter Bowles (1-3, double) went a combined 4 for 7 with four RBIs and four extra-base knocks.

“When you can get that kind of production out of your 7-8-9 guys, that makes the top of the order that much better,” coach Bradley Rudisill said. “The bottom of the lineup has been steady the whole year. They pitch the bottom of the lineup the same as the top of the lineup because they know if you throw fastballs in there they’re going to hit it.”

Clary’s average climbed to .323. “He laid off two really good breaking balls, then they leave a fastball up that he’s able to turn on,” Rudisill said.

Bowles has been tremendous all year, hitting .357. Campbell is only hitting .218, but he hit safely for the fifth time in seven games and is peaking at the right time. “Jacob can do a lot of things,” Rudisill said. “He can handle the bat in a hit-and-run situation. He can get a bunt down when you need him to. And he showed off a little bit of power today.”

Whisenhunt had what for most pitchers would be a game you brag about. He worked a five-hitter for 4.2 innings, gave up two runs and piled up 12 strikeouts. But it was an off day for “Whiz” because he walked five and needed 100 pitches to get 14 outs.

But Whisenhunt walked off a winner partly because his offense came through with nine hits, six walks, five doubles, a home run and a triple. His gaudy season numbers moved to 8-0 with an 0.73 ERA. He owns the longest winning streak for a Davie pitcher in 13 years (John McDaniel won 12 straight decisions in 2006). He owns the best start in 18 years (Travis Allen went 9-0 in 2001).

“Carson didn’t pitch his best game,” Rudisill said. “He didn’t have all his pitches working. He grinded into the fifth and we were able to bridge it together.”

Whisenhunt helped himself in the first, getting a two-out single to knock in Anthony Azar, who reached on an error and stole second.

Davie broke open a 1-1 game in the second. Clary tripled off the wall and Campbell followed with a sac fly. With two outs, Bowles doubled the other way down the third-base line on an 0-2 pitch, and then Garrett Chandler cranked a two-run homer.

Davie did serious two-out damage in the third. Joe Johnson singled, Michael Shelton walked, Clary greeted a new pitcher with a two-run double to right-center, and Campbell hit the next pitch down the left-field line for a run-scoring double as Davie pushed a 4-2 lead to 7-2.

“We had a bitter taste in our mouths,” Rudisill said of the earlier loss to East.

The relentless leadoff man, Chandler (2-3, walk, double, homer), slammed his second homer, lifted his average to .384 and extended his hitting streak to nine games.

“I told him to focus on hitting it over the second baseman’s head, and instead he hits it over the scoreboard,” Rudisill said. “He got the pitch he was looking for, and that’s the biggest thing with Garrett. As long as he sticks to his approach and doesn’t try to do too much, he’s a very good hitter.”

Middle reliever Justin Chaffin gave up two runs in 1.1 innings, but both were unearned. Azar wasted no time putting East to bed in the seventh, getting three outs in eight pitches.