Davie beats No. 1, then loses in conference baseball finals

Published 1:42 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Well, that was an eventual two days of baseball.

In the Central Piedmont Conference Tournament semifinals, No. 4 Davie squeaked out a 5-4 win over No. 1 East Forsyth. In the other semifinal, No. 2 West Forsyth overrode a 4-1 deficit in the seventh inning and beat No. 3 Reagan 5-4.

The score in the championship game was – you guessed it – 5-4. The War Eagles were hoping to end a long CPCT drought, but they fell just short to the Titans on May 4. Davie hosted all three CPCT games.

Much of the season has been a roller-coaster ride. Davie (14-10) is 4-6 in games decided by one or two runs and 3-5 in one-run games.   

“The kids played hard,” coach Joey Anderson said. “It was a heartbreaker for them. We’ve lost quite a few by one run. I’m glad we got to host and glad our boys competed. We played real well against East and earned that spot. Then we gave ourselves a chance in the championship game.”

West scored the first three runs. Coy James walked with one out in the third, and the next thing West knew, it was 3-3. Parker Simmons singled, Davin Whitaker tripled and Brady Marshall singled as the game went from 3-0 to 3-3 in a span of four pitches.

“At the start of the game, everybody was pumped up,” Anderson said. “They seemed to control their emotions a little better than we did at the start. Then we got fired up and got three runs.”

West took a 4-3 lead in the third, but it was hoping for more. It was denied by center fielder Davin Whitaker, who threw out a runner at home to end the inning.

The key moment came in the top of the fourth. The War Eagles will always remember the semifinal win over East, and they will always remember how close Coy James was to changing the title game with two on and one out in the fourth. With Drew Krause and Cooper Bliss aboard, James sliced a deep drive to right. Davie was about to, at worst, tie the game, but senior right fielder William Siceloff made a diving catch. The next guy got out and West retained the 4-3 lead.

“(Siceloff) dove and made a great play,” Anderson said. “That was the turning point of that game. They were playing him way over to pull, and it was slicing toward the line. Yeah, (Siceloff) laid out and made an amazing play. He basically caught it on the (warning) track.”

Another turning point:

Davie failed to capitalize on Whitaker’s leadoff triple in the fifth inning. A pair of groundouts to second were followed by a grounder to short, and Davie was still down 4-3.

Davie did get things knotted in the sixth. Cooper Bliss doubled and with two outs, James smacked a triple to make it 4-4.

West manufactured the decisive run in the bottom of the sixth. After fouling off five straight pitches, freshman Will Holden hit a double. A bunt moved him to third and he scored on a fielder’s choice.

With one out in the seventh, West hit Marshall with a pitch. He advanced into scoring position on a groundout. Davie needed a clutch hit, but a bouncer to second ended the game.

Davie will enter the 4-A playoffs with a 14-10 record. The Titans, who have nine seniors and eight juniors, improved to 18-8.

“I said: ‘All the things that we’ve gone through throughout the year has prepared you for what you’re about to get into,’” Anderson said. “You just have to figure out how to be on the high end of those one-run games.”

Notes: Whitaker (2-4, two triples) and Bliss (2-3) led Davie with two hits each. Getting one were James (1-3, walk), Simmons (1-4), Marshall (1-2), Jackson Sink (1-4) and Krause (1-3). … Neither team had their top arms available. Marshall made his third start for Davie, and he battled through four innings. Connor Berg pitched the last two in his 11th relief appearance. For West, freshman Greyson Jones went six innings. Junior Logan Rodriguez closed it out. … Get this: James and Whitaker are the first War Eagles in this century to get four triples in a season. Another amazing stat: Marshall is the first War Eagle this century to rack up 25 walks/HBPs in a season. … The War Eagles were seeking their first CPCT title since a 7-1 victory over West in 2012. This was their third finals appearance in 10 years. They lost 10-9 to North Davidson in 2015 and 6-5 to West Forsyth in 2019.