Bats struggle in War Eagle baseball losses

Published 11:01 am Tuesday, March 19, 2024

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Thanks to Mother Nature dumping rain on March 8, Davie’s hard-luck baseball team had to face West Forsyth’s ace twice.

In the first meeting on March 5, Jack Vest threw a two-hitter as West blanked Davie 10-0 in six innings. The scheduled matchup March 8 was rained out, giving Vest three more days of rest for the March 11 makeup.

Davie sang the same sad tune, lost 3-0 in Clemmons and dropped to 0-2 in the Central Piedmont Conference. Vest pitched another two-hitter with zero walks and 11 strikeouts. Davie coach Joey Anderson could have turned to his No. 1 guy, Braeden Rodgers, but it was Connor Berg’s turn and Berg got the ball. And Berg certainly did his part in his second strong start of the season. His line: six innings, six hits, three runs, one walk, six Ks.

“I stayed true to it and went to my No. 2 guy that was going to get that shot on Friday, because I believe if that’s the way it’s supposed to be, that’s the way it’s supposed to be – whether it’s rain, snow, sleet or shine,” Anderson said. “Connor threw really well. Connor really only made one mistake, and that was in the last inning. He left a breaking ball over the plate and the kid hit it out. Hats off for the job that Connor did, and we played very good defense all the way around.”

Davie had a chance to turn the game in the fourth. Carson Queen was hit by a pitch with one out. On the next pitch, Cooper Bliss doubled to put runners at second and third in a scoreless game.

With Davie hoping to catch a wave, Vest got out of the fourth unscathed. West’s shortstop threw out Queen at the plate. The next batter popped out.

“Kason (Stewart) hit a hard ground ball, but straight to the shortstop and I had Carson breaking on contact, hoping the ball would go the opposite way,” Anderson said.

In the bottom of the fourth, West got on the board despite a leadoff single being erased by catcher Drew Krause, who threw out the runner trying to steal. A walk, sac bunt and hit later, West had a 1-0 lead.

In the sixth, West all but put it away with a two-run homer. Coy James and Bliss both went 1 for 3 for Davie’s hits.

“We could not catch a break,” Anderson said. “Jack kept us offbalance quite a bit.”

Krause played big in defeat.

“They ran on him the first game (the 10-0 loss),” Anderson said. “Connor was quick to the plate and Drew through out a couple of guys. He had a really good game behind the plate. We let Drew call the game, and him and Connor were on the same page.”

Davie Sweeps Parkland

The War Eagles evened their CPC mark at 2-2 with two easy wins over Parkland. It was 23-0 in three and a half innings at home on March 12, and 15-1 in four innings in Winston-Salem on March 14.

The Mustangs, who have lost 42 of 43 with a 22-game losing streak, fell to 0-6 on the season.

S. Meck 3, Davie 1

A home nonconference game on March 16 was eerily reminiscent of the West Forsyth game. Rodgers pitched a typical Rodgers game, but the bats failed to show up in a loss to highly-ranked South Mecklenburg.

Cameron Bagwell, a 6-5 senior, walked none and struck out 12 in a six-inning one-hitter. The only run he allowed was unearned. Reliever Cole Gillis struck out the side in order in the seventh.

Davie’s offense has come up with few answers outside of the Parkland games. In the other five games, it is hitting .194 (22 for 114) with 15 runs.

“We haven’t figured it out yet, but we are getting there,” Anderson said after Davie slipped to 4-3 overall. “If we can put the ball in play and make people make plays, we’re going to be alright. Facing Vest and Bagwell three times in the first seven games, you get to see where we’re at. They know what they need to do to be successful. It’s just about when they’re going to do it.”

The unbeaten Sabres, who are 8-0 and ranked fourth in 4-A, took advantage of Davie mistakes in the fourth. The game’s first run crossed on an error, and the second run scored on a wild pitch.

Rodgers worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth to keep it 2-0. James fielded a grounder at short and got the first out at home. The next batter flew out to center fielder Bliss, who had another moment in the sun by throwing out the runner at home for a double play.

Davie couldn’t take advantage of James’ leadoff single in the fourth. He advanced on Queen’s bunt but Bagwell got the next two guys on strikes.

Davie had a little rally in the sixth. Craig McBride reached on an error and stole second. Two pitchers later, he took third on a wild pitch. He scored on James’ towering flyout to center.

“Coy hit one about 433 feet to center field,” Anderson said. “He caught it at the wall.”

Rodgers did sterling work by holding South to one earned run over 5.1 innings. Then Berg got five outs without giving up anything.

But the bats continued to struggle as Rodgers dropped to 1-2 despite a 1.23 ERA. Davie finished with more errors (three) than hits (one).

“It should’ve been 1-1,” Anderson said. “We had a dropped pick off at first. We had a guy out at first on a bunt, we threw it over the first baseman’s head and then they got a hit.”

James was 1 for 2 for Davie’s lone hit. South won on a day it only managed four hits.

“(Bagwell) threw a good game, but we didn’t really make it hard on him,” Anderson said. “We needed to hit better with two strikes and we needed to be a little bit more aggressive. He kept us offbalance with his slider.”