Offense explodes for War Eagle baseball
Published 9:11 am Thursday, May 27, 2021
By Brian Pitts
After three innings at Glenn, the Davie varsity baseball team’s offense was sputtering and looking for a spark. The War Eagles had an unsatisfying 1-0 lead through three and had managed just seven runs across 28 innings.
Everything changed in the top of the fourth. Davie went absolutely bonkers, scoring eight runs – all with two outs – and moving into a tie for second in the Central Piedmont Conference with a 17-5 road win over the Bobcats on May 18.
With Reed Cunningham on base, there were two outs in the fourth. That’s when the explosion began. This is how it went down: Josh Westmoreland single, Justin Collins walk, Wesley Mason walk, Beaven Arey single, Blake Little single, Jack Reynolds walk, Daniel Lawson single, Cunningham triple. Davie blended five hits with three walks after the second out and extended the lead to 9-0.
The War Eagles finished with 14 hits, eight walks, three triples, three doubles and seven stolen bases as they raised their batting average from .256 to .282 in one night. They produced the most runs in 54 games, dating to a 21-4 rout at West Rowan in March 2018.
Davie got multiple hits from Cunningham (3 for 4, double, two triples), Lawson (2-4, five RBIs), Mason (3-4, two steals, double, walk) and Arey (2-3, double).
Lawson took over the team’s RBI lead at eight. (Unfortunately, he won’t be able to ride the momentum as the junior catcher is now sidelined with an injury.)
“Reed has been killing it all season,” coach Bradley Rudisill said. “We made some adjustments to his swing in the offseason, and he really worked on it and now he’s really squaring balls up.”
Mason has become a sensation as a junior and first-year varsity player. He raised his average to .421, second to Davin Whitaker’s .450. Little is third at .400.
“Wesley didn’t get hardly any playing time his freshman year (on JV),” Rudisill said. “His sophomore year COVID hit, so he didn’t get to play much. In the offseason he kind of struggled. I’ve been super impressed by him. He’s got a very simple approach. He knows what his game is – it’s to run – and he doesn’t try to do too much. He doesn’t chase anything.”
For four innings, starter Jaydon Holder was dealing. He had a three-hit shutout going with one walk before he unraveled in the fifth. His defense let him down as well as Glenn chopped an 11-0 margin to 11-5.
Holder was pulled after 4.2 innings. He issued three of his four walks in the fifth. But overall, it was a good outing. All four of Glenn’s runs against the sophomore lefty were unearned, and he struck out seven to notch his first varsity win.
“Jaydon was cruising and he got a quick first out (in the fifth),” Rudisill said. “Then it was walk, walk, error. It was tough luck. I thought he pitched well enough to have thrown a shutout. He gets better and better. He’s just learning how to pitch. This is his second straight outing with seven strikeouts.”
Junior Vance Visser picked up the slack while making his first varsity appearance on the hill. He threw 24 of 34 pitches for strikes and gave up one unearned run in 2.1 innings.
“With only two games a week, it makes it difficult (to get innings for other guys), especially when the starters are going the distance,” Rudisill said. “Vance definitely did what he needed to do. We have a fairly deep pitching staff, and there’s a few quality arms that haven’t even touched the mound.”
For good measure, the War Eagles tacked on six runs in the seventh on the strength of three hits, three walks and an error.
Notes: Davie got one hit from Little (1-3, two RBIs, walk), Ty Miller (1-1, RBI), Westmoreland (1-3, three runs, two walks) and Jackson Sink (1-3). … Miller, a sophomore, got a hit in his first varsity at-bat. Sink got a hit in his first varsity game. … Westmoreland went crazy on the bases, stealing five bags. He suddenly leads the team in that category with six. “Josh is a very, very, very aggressive base runner,” Rudisill said. “If you look at speed, he’s right up there with Wesley, maybe a hair faster.” … Davie has a seven-game winning streak in the series since a 3-0 loss at Glenn in the third round of the 2010 playoffs. … The Bobcats (1-7 overall, 0-5 CPC) endured their seventh straight loss since opening with a 14-3 win over Parkland. But Glenn was coming off respectable showings against a tough East Forsyth, losing 5-3 and 3-1. … Davie improved to 4-3, 4-1, tying East for second. The frontrunner is unbeaten Reagan.