Whitaker drives in 6; Davie wins in Boone

Published 12:54 pm Tuesday, April 4, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Davie Enterprise Record

Davie’s varsity baseball team had pulled off attention-grabbing wins over Carson, Alexander Central, East Forsyth and Reagan (twice).

A 12-5 triumph at Watauga on March 29 was another feather in Davie’s cap.

It came on a night when the War Eagles found their offensive teeth. Coy James has been on a tear all year, but a good chunk of the batting order had struggled, with Davie averaging 5.8 hits and 4.4 runs before the trip to Boone.

The top four batters in the lineup – James, Parker Simmons, Davin Whitaker and Brady Marshall – went a combined 8 for 15 as Davie scored a season-high 12 runs and matched a season high in hits (10).

Sandwiched around the Watauga game were two dates with Mt. Tabor. But while Tabor is a rebuilding program, Watauga is a strong foe, the Pioneers having won 10 of 12 before meeting Davie.

The nonconference game gave coach Joey Anderson a chance to throw his prize freshman for the first time all year. Marshall seized the opportunity. The righthander retired the side in order in the first and second innings, he faced four batters in the third and he entered the fourth with a no-hitter.

Marshall labored in the fourth, but all in all, it was a tremendous mound debut.

“He threw well,” Anderson said. “He had a plan like our other pitchers and he attacked the hitters and let our defense work. Since he hadn’t thrown in a while, maybe I left him in there a little too long, but he was throwing strong and they have a potent lineup.”

Davie struck for two runs in the second, thanks to James’ RBI single and Whitaker’s bases-loaded walk. The War Eagles widened the gap to 6-0 in the fourth on Whitaker’s two-run single and Jackson Sink’s two-run double.

Although Sink ended the game with a .228 average, he has made most of his hits count – his nine RBIs are second to Whitaker’s 12.

“Jackson’s been swinging the bat a lot better the last couple games,” Anderson said. “He’s had quality swings and put quality at-bats together.”

Watauga broke up Marshall’s no-hitter with one out in the fourth. A single, a double and back-to-back walks ended Marshall’s night at 3.2 innings and two runs allowed.

A bases-loaded jam put considerable weight on the reliever’s shoulders, but Connor Berg was up to the task. He induced an infield popup to end the inning and preserve a 6-2 lead. Berg, a junior righty who made his sixth relief appearance, earned the win by throwing the last 3.1 innings.

“They were rallying the troops and getting pumped up,” Anderson said of the Pioneers. “Berg has been in those situations and I wanted to give them a different look. He’s got a little funky delivery and he made a great pitch to get a popup.”

Watauga rallied again in the fifth. Tristan Salinas, who has signed with South Carolina, slammed a two-run homer to cut Davie’s lead to 6-5.

“They’ve beaten some big-time teams,” Anderson said of Watauga.

But Davie closed the game in overpowering fashion and allowed its coach to breathe after a string of nailbiter games in recent weeks.

After Simmons walked in the sixth, Marshall capped a night to remember by hitting his first high school homer.

Then Davie poured it on in the seventh. With Ty Miller, Drew Krause and James on the bases, Whitaker pulled a three-run triple down the right-field line.

Whitaker went 2 for 3 with two runs, two walks and six RBIs. The runs batted in are the most by a War Eagle in nine years, or 196 games. You’re going to love this: The last War Eagle to drive in six was assistant coach Ross Hoffner, who went 2 for 2 with six RBIs in a crazy season opener as a senior in 2014. Hoffner had a two-run single, a run-scoring squeeze bunt and a three-run double off the wall in left-center as Davie blasted Randleman, 18-5, at Rich Park.

Whitaker (.281) leads the club in RBIs (12) and is tied with Marshall for first in walks (11).

“Davin is getting more confidence,” Anderson said. “He’s seeing the ball real well and he’s putting together quality at-bats. He understands when he needs to swing hard and go for the big hit, and he knows when he just needs to get on base.”

James, Simmons and Marshall  all went 2 for 4 with a walk. Sink (1-5) and Krause (1-3, walk) had the other hits as Davie outhit Watauga 10-6. The offense was complemented by a defense that made one error.

At night’s end, the top three averages belonged to James (.444), Krause (.363) and Marshall (.357).

“We swung the bats a lot better,” Anderson said. “Our bats up and down the lineup are starting to wake up a little bit. The way we hit the ball is what I’ve been waiting on.”

Davie 10, Tabor 0

Davie overmatched visiting Mt. Tabor on March 28. Jaydon Holder was sensational with a six-inning no-hitter that included one walk, 19 batters faced and 44 strikes in 63 pitches.

After throwing his third complete game in five starts, the senior lefty improved to 3-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.05.

Offensively, Marshall (2-4, triple), Sink (2-4, three RBIs) and Krause (2-3) accounted for six of Davie’s 10 hits.

Meanwhile, the Spartans are experiencing growing pains under their new coach, Andrew Jones, who graduated from Davie in 2000. They have three seniors, three juniors, one sophomore and seven freshmen.

“Tabor is a young team,” Anderson said. “They’re going to learn and they’re going to keep battling (under Jones).”

Davie 7, Tabor 0

Two days after the Watauga game, Davie cruised past Tabor again, this time on the road. It was more of the same mound supremacy from Davie’s outstanding lefty duo. Braeden Rodgers faced 19 batters in five innings and allowed one hit. He’s 4-0 with a 0.77 ERA while allowing just 10 hits in 27 innings.

Cole Whitaker faced seven batters while recording the last six outs.

James, who went 3 for 4 to rack up half of Davie’s hits, opened the game with a single. Whitaker and Sink also reached as Davie put up two in the top of the first.

Davie doubled the margin in the second as James followed a Ty Goodson walk with his second home run of the season.

Parker Aderhold (1-4), Craig McBride (1-1, walk) and Miller (1-2, walk) had one hit each, and Marshall drew three walks.

Notes: The Spartans (1-11, 0-8 Central Piedmont Conference) have not won since opening night, a 6-3 decision over Mt. Airy. … Davie has six straight wins in the series. … Davie (9-4 overall) has a four-game winning streak. … The War Eagles are tied for second in the CPC. East Forsyth is 7-1, while Davie and Reynolds are both 6-2. West Forsyth is 5-3. Reagan and Glenn are 4-4.