Davie baseball wins rematch; remains second

Published 12:48 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Davie Enterprise Record

Davie baseball coach Joey Anderson was annoyed by a 4-2 loss to Harrison Lewis and West Forsyth, but he wasn’t worried. West was going to use a lesser pitcher in the rematch and he had his undefeated arm (Braeden Rodgers) ready for his sixth start.

And just as Anderson hoped, the War Eagles rebounded in resounding fashion, thumping West by 10 in six innings.

The split left Davie in second place in the wild and wacky Central Piedmont Conference. At the end of last week, East Forsyth was first at 9-1, followed by Davie (7-3) and a four-way tie for third with Reagan, Reynolds, Glenn and West all at 6-4.

“What else would you expect in the CPC?” Anderson said. “I’m real proud of our guys for putting ourselves in this position.”

WF 4, Davie 2

The War Eagles had a chance to make a statement in the top of the first against Lewis on April 11 in Clemmons. The missed opportunity would come back to haunt them in a 4-2 loss that was tied going into the bottom of the seventh.

Coy James singled on the game’s first pitch. The next pitch saw Parker Simmons drop down a bunt hit. Just like that, Davie was threatening.

Alas, Lewis shrugged off his slow start and retired the next three batters. “There were lost opportunities,” Anderson said.

West grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second, but Davie answered right back in the third. James doubled down the left-field line, Simmons delivered a sac bunt and Davin Whitaker pushed James home with a single.

Davie starter Jaydon Holder got a strikeout with runners at second and third to end the fourth, but he was victimized by the No. 9 batter in the fifth. Sophomore Parker Trexler jumped on the first pitch, drove it out of the park and gave West a 2-1 lead.

But again, Davie responded immediately. Whitaker roped a double off the center-field fence and advanced to third when Jackson Sink reached on an error. Whitaker scored on West’s second error to tie the game at 2 in the sixth.

With a runner at third and two outs in the West sixth, Holder coaxed a groundout to shortstop James, but Davie’s bats went down 1-2-3 in the seventh.

That set the stage for West to walk it off in the bottom of the seventh. After Holder got a strikeout, Trexler won the battle with a two-strike single up the middle. He was a thorn in Davie’s side by going 3 for 3.

“Maybe (West coach Brad Bullard) puts a strong hitter down there so he can turn that lineup over,” Anderson said.

Three pitches later, sophomore leadoff man Luis Acevedo stopped Davie’s four-game winning streak with one big swing, a two-run, walk-off homer.

This was Davie’s fifth loss, and four of them have been by one or two runs. “We’ve lost four games in the last inning,” Anderson said.

The consolation for Davie was it did fight hard against an elite pitcher. Lewis, a 6-6, 265-pound righthander who has signed with North Carolina, pumps 90-plus heat. He walked one, struck out 10 and held Davie to five hits. Of his 104 pitches, 71 were strikes.

“We have great pitching in our conference,” Anderson said. “A lot of people are getting frustrated because certain people aren’t hitting. What people have to understand is these are the best of the best pitchers that we’re seeing every week.

“It was a good game. It was two good teams. We’re going to come back Friday and we’ll be better.”

West had to sweat it out because Holder  kept Davie in contention over 6.1 innings. He walked just one as his tidy ERA climbed from 1.05 to 1.48.

“They’re not going to make the perfect pitch every single time; I don’t expect them to,” Anderson said of his pitchers. “(Lewis) got out of more jams than we did.”

Notes: Davie had a near-miss in the third. After it had scratched to make it 1-1, Brady Marshall barreled an offering, only to see center fielder Jack Vest snag it and keep Whitaker at third. “He smoked a fastball and Vest came in and made a good play,” Anderson said. “If that balls gets down, it’s a totally different ballgame.” … The top three batters in the order had all five of Davie’s hits. James went 2 for 4, Simmons 1-2 and Whitaker 2-3. … The game illustrated again the unpredictability of the CPC. West (11-7 overall) lost twice to Reagan (3-2, 12-2), while Davie swept Reagan (1-0, 2-1).

Mooresville 10, Davie 0

This home nonconference game on April 12 proved to be a forgettable endeavor. Davie gave up eight runs in the top of the first, was held to four hits and produced a dud.

In that nasty first, Mooresville collected eight hits and all but settled the issue right off the bat.

Whitaker (1-2), Marshall (1-2), Sink (1-1, walk) and Parker Aderhold (1-2) had the hits for Davie. By contrast, the Blue Devils (9-8) banged out 13 hits, raised their winning streak to four and recorded their third shutout in nine days.

Davie 12, WF 2

After dropping two in a row for the first time all season, the War Eagles gave their fans plenty to cheer about in the rematch with visiting West on April 13.

The offense erupted, Rodgers sustained his torrid season on the hill and Davie dealt a mercy-rule beating. It was the sort of all-around game Anderson’s been looking for on a consistent basis, although that’s easier said than done in the CPC.

“We swung the bats better than we probably have all year,” he said. “We passed the torch to the next guy and kept getting big hits.”

Davie erased West’s 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. James pulled a double down the line. On the next pitch, Simmons placed a perfect bunt toward third. Two pitches after that, Whitaker unloaded a triple. In the second, when the margin grew from 3-1 to 5-1, Marshall singled to plate Aderhold and James. In the sixth, Simmons finished the bashing with a two-run, walk-off hit.

The game saw more heroics from James, who went 2 for 2 with two runs, three walks and two steals. The sophomore is hitting an absurd .469.

“Coy is very mature for his age,” Anderson said. “He does put a lot of pressure on himself – he feels like he should get a hit every single time – to the point where he wants to be better every single day. He’s always working with his swing. Not a lot of people are throwing him fastballs. They’re throwing curveballs, sliders and trying to get him to chase. But he doesn’t chase many pitches.”

Whitaker (2-4, two RBIs, three runs) stayed hot and lifted his average to .318.

“Davin’s been swinging it well,” Anderson said of his three-hole batter. “Davin’s one of the hardest-working kids I know. A lot of these boys put a lot of time in outside of our practices.”

There was a ripple effect throughout Davie’s lineup on a day when West used four pitchers. (All four gave up runs, with the starter recording just one out.) Simmons went 2-4 with four RBIs, Miller went 2-4 and Marshall (1-1, two RBIs, three walks), Cooper Bliss (1-3), Drew Krause (1-3) and Aderhold (1-4) had one hit apiece.

Although Sink went 0-3, he had one of the best at-bats of the year. He saw 11 pitches in the fifth, fouling off four straight offerings before hitting a sac fly.

“Jackson just kept battling and battling and battling,” Anderson said. “We did a lot of things right to keep the pressure on them.”

Meanwhile, Rodgers’ confidence level is through the roof after his third complete game. He scattered nine hits, gave up one earned run and pushed his record to 5-0. His ERA is a ridiculous 0.84.

“Drew (Krause, the catcher) called most of that game because we felt like he had a better feel for what Braeden was throwing well and what he wasn’t,” Anderson said.

Notes: Marshall is second to James with a .342 average. Krause is fourth at .302. … Davie is 10-6 overall. … Davie and West have been exchanging blows for years. Last year they met three times. West won 11-3. Two days later, Davie won by a crazy margin of 24-10. Then West blanked Davie 10-0 in the second round of the playoffs.