Davie baseball stuns West

Published 9:46 am Thursday, April 14, 2022

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By Brian Pitts

Davie Enterprise Record

Davie’s varsity baseball team played a stinker of a game at home against West Forsyth, losing 11-3 while collecting way more errors than hits.

When the War Eagles dug a 6-0 hole in the first inning of the second matchup, a 12th straight loss to the East Forsyth/Reagan/West Forsyth trio seemed probable.

The War Eagles had not beaten a Central Piedmont Conference rival with a winning record in the league since 2019, and after quickly falling behind by a touchdown in Clemmons, who gave them a chance?

Against long odds, the War Eagles turned the tables, found renewed confidence and won by an outlandish score of 24-10.

In a game that lasted more than three hours, in a game that will be impossible to forget for both sides, there were 11 pitchers (eight by West), 24 walks (14 by West) and 348 pitches (203 by West).

“It was a very stressful game to start with, but it got better,” coach Joey Anderson said. “It was a very good win.”

WF 11, Davie 3

The matchup in Mocksville on April 6 was pretty much a dud of a game for the War Eagles, who committed eight errors, only mustered three hits and surrendered double-figure runs for the fourth time in 13 games.

By contrast, the Titans had 13 hits and one error.

After going seven, 6.1, six and seven innings in his last four starts, Davie ace Bayden Hazlip struggled for the first time all season, only lasting four innings.

Harrison Lewis was dominant on the mound for West, tossing a two-hitter for six innings without walking anyone. He pumped strike after strike – only 15 of his 69 pitches were balls – gave up the only hits to Coy James (1-3, double), Cooper Bliss (1-1) and JT Bumgarner (1-3).

Braeden Rodgers did well as Davie’s third pitcher. He gave up one hit in 1.2 innings and both runs off him were unearned.

The previous six meetings between Davie and West had all been decided by one run. The teams were 3-3 during that stretch.

Davie 24, WF 10

In the bottom of the first on April 8 in Clemmons, West scored six runs on three hits, two errors and two walks. But what a turnaround for the War Eagles, who erupted for 14 runs in the third/fourth innings and picked up a massive win for their psyche.

“I knew it was in us,” Anderson said after Davie stunned a team that had won 12 of 13 games. “I was just waiting for it to happen. It’s something I talk about in practice pretty much every day.”

Davie got two back in the second. Parker Aderhold, who had monster breakout game, led off with a single. Drew Krause and Parker Simmons followed with hits as Davie climbed within 6-2.

West, though, restored its six-run lead in the last of the second – despite James and Simmons turning a 6-4-3 double play to clear the bases. Three walks and a two-run single followed to put Davie in an 8-2 hole.

But then things unraveled for West and Davie took advantage – and then some.

“I told them to keep playing,” Anderson said. “Nobody got deflated. Nobody shut down on me.”

In the third, the War Eagles scored six runs on six walks, a hit batsman and an error. The only hit in the inning belonged to Simmons. Just like that, it was 8-8.

“You could see on everybody’s face: ‘Yeah, we’re going to do this,’” Anderson said.

In the fourth, Davie blended two-run hits from James and Aderhold with seven walks. When the dust settled, eight runs were in and Davie had a 16-8 lead with the game only halfway over.

“We took our walks,” he said. “We were swinging at good pitches and we were hitting the ball hard when we got our chance. Guys came up big.”

Even with the big lead, the War Eagles weren’t about to relax. Remember, two earlier games were bitter pills to swallow. They coughed up an 11-2 lead against Watauga, which rallied to win 17-15. They jumped on Reagan 6-0 before losing 15-13.

After West cut the margin to 16-10 in the fourth, Davie stepped on West’s neck. In a three-run sixth, Aderhold and Ty Goodson roped doubles. In a five-run seventh, doubles by Jackson Sink, Davin Whitaker and Aderhold were mixed with James’ single.

“We kept saying: ‘Hey look, we’ve got to finish,’” Anderson said. “We wanted to keep stealing and everything else because (of past blown leads). We continued to make plays and hit the ball.”

The game was one to remember for Aderhold, who went 4 for 4 with five runs, five RBIs, two doubles, two walks and two stolen bases. Whew.

The junior came in hitting .210, although he was still contributing while collecting 13 walks and eight steals. But this huge outburst raised his average 75 points to .285. It was the most hits by a War Eagle in 24 games (Whitaker went 4-4 in an 8-3 win over Reynolds last May) and the most RBIs by a War Eagle in 20 games (Daniel Lawson had five in a 17-5 win over Glenn last May).

“Aderhold was so consistent for me (on JV) two years ago,” Anderson said.

Davie had 12 hits in all, including two from James (2-5, four RBIs) and Simmons (2-4, two RBIs) and one from Whitaker (1-3, four runs, three walks), Goodson (1-3, two RBIs, two walks), Krause (1-4, two walks) and Sink (1-3, two walks). Ty Miller walked twice and scored four times.

Davie’s starter, Jaydon Holder, was gone after recording one out in 23 pitches after getting hit by a liner. So long-reliever Rodgers deserves a lot of credit for this triumph. Despite having not worked longer than 1.2 innings in seven earlier relief appearances, the sophomore hurled 100 pitches, went 5.1 innings and earned his first varsity win. Cole Whitaker wrapped things up by striking out two in 1.1 scoreless innings.

“Braeden’s numbers might not be the greatest, but he did what he was supposed to do,” Anderson said.

Notes: Leadoff man James is living up to his billing as an elite freshman. He has an eight-game hitting streak and a team-best .372 average – 111 points over Davie’s average. As it stands now, it’s the highest average since Chris Reynolds’ .405 in 2017. … Anderson tweaked the defense, moving Simmons to second and Sink to right field. “Both of those guys played really well,” he said after Davie had two errors to West’s five. “You know (West) is going to hit the ball. But our pitchers got groundballs and we made plays when we needed to.” … Davie (6-8 overall) may not make the playoffs come May, but it could play spoiler. The upset knocked West out of a share of first place. East Forsyth is 8-1. Reagan and West are now tied for second at 8-2. Davie is fourth at 5-5.