Davie sweeps East

Published 11:11 am Tuesday, April 16, 2024

By Brian Pitts

Davie Enterprise Record

Davie’s varsity baseball team is back from oblivion.

When the War Eagles were outscored 28-1 over four games against West Forsyth and Reagan, their offense was frighteningly anemic.

But coach Joey Anderson and his staff plugged holes in the leaky ship, Coy James is scorching the earth with his bat, Drew Krause and Hunter Potts are producing at the plate, and the pitchers keep getting the job done.

Last week’s resounding sweep of East Forsyth did wonders for Davie’s image. The War Eagles have won five straight against East dating to last year. What makes their mastery of East all the more stunning is East is 34-10 across the 2023-24 seasons – with half the losses to Davie.


East was in sole possession of first in the Central Piedmont Conference before running into Davie. The top four in the CPC entering this week: Reagan 9-1, West Forsyth/East 8-2, Davie 6-4.

Ridge 3, Davie 2

Davie’s loss last week came in nonconference play at Hickory Ridge on April 8. It wasn’t decided until the bottom of the seventh when the Ragin’ Bulls walked it off and dealt Davie its second straight one-run defeat.

Anderson wasn’t discouraged.

“We’re playing really well,” he said. “The last three games we’ve played, it seems like we’re right at the cusp of turning the corner. But we’re not getting that big hit or we’re not making that big play.”

It was a pitchers’ duel that saw both teams commit three errors. James was a one-man gang for Davie. In the third, he fouled off two pitches, then connected for a homer that tied the game at 1. In the fifth, James jumped on the first pitch for a double and scored from second when the shortstop couldn’t handle a throw on a pickoff play. That tied things at 2.

James (3 for 4) accounted for all but one of Davie’s hits. It was his fourth straight multi-hit game and it was his second homer (no one else has gone deep for Davie).

Braeden Rodgers started on the mound and worked two effective innings before giving way to Cooper Bliss, who struck out six in 4.2 solid innings.

“We were just trying to get Braeden going for Friday since he hadn’t pitched (in nine days),” Anderson said. “We just wanted to get him a couple innings to get him ready. Cooper threw well.”

Hickory Ridge (9-6) pulled it out in the last inning. A walk and sac bunt put the runner in scoring position, and he scored on a two-out hit.

The hard-fought battle featured one of the finest catches of the year by outfielder Craig McBride, who kept the score 2-2 in the fifth.

“McBride made an unbelievable catch,” Anderson said. “They would have scored there. He made a diving catch in the right-center field gap. It was an amazing catch (with a runner on first). They made a couple of plays, too, to keep us at bay.”

Davie’s fourth hit came from Kason Stewart (1-2, walk). The Bulls were held to five hits.

Davie 9, East 1

Senior pitcher Connor Berg is having a season to remember. At home against East Forsyth on April 9, he carved up batters and handcuffed ‘em and jammed ‘em and mowed ‘em down by throwing 59 of 85 pitches for strikes.

In six innings, Berg (4-2) gave up just four hits, walked none and lowered his ERA to 1.83.

“Connor threw a great game,” Anderson said. “His offspeed was working real well. He controlled them with the fastball and kept them offbalance. We made some errors, but Connor stayed calm. When he gets ahead of guys, he’s going to be alright.”

The defense kept Davie close until the bats warmed up. In the first, shortstop James threw home to Krause for an out. East scored on a two-out hit in the second, but Krause took a throw from center fielder Bliss and immediately fired to James to cut down a runner for the third out.

Davie was economical with six hits, and it took full advantage of nine walks from multiple East arms.

A four-run third was ignited by consecutive hits by James, Krause and Potts. Coston Colamarino, Krause and Carson Queen provided knocks in a three-run fourth. Meanwhile, Berg retired the side in order in the third, fourth and sixth.

“We played well,” Anderson said. “We kept putting pressure on, they walked a couple guys and then we got some big hits.”

Krause went 2 for 3 with a double. Davie got 1-3 efforts from Potts, Queen and Colamarino, and James went 1-2 with two walks.

“I changed the batting order just to mix things up,” Anderson said. “I hoped it was gonna work and it did. I moved everybody except Coy (who bats leadoff) and Hunter (who bats third). I was trying to get some guys going. Drew got a couple big hits. I figured Drew (who moved up to second) would be the best one to protect Coy, and he had a great night.”

Notes: This was East’s first CPC loss after an 8-0 start. … Last year Davie went 3-1 against East, including a second-round playoff win in Kernersville. … Parker Davis worked a scoreless seventh in his seventh relief outing. … At the end of this one, Krause and Potts were hitting .357 and .342, respectively.

Davie 5, East 1

Three nights later, the War Eagles remained a thorn in East’s side and James was busy as always with a single, double, walk and two runs in three at-bats.

The junior is absolutely destroying the ball. After going 0 for 6 in the first two games, he’s hit safely in 13 of 14 games. In the last six games, he’s 12 for 18. For the season, he’s 23 for 46 for a .500 average, which would be the program record.

“I don’t want to say anything (about the .500 average and jinx him),” Anderson said. “I want to keep him hot. It’s hard sometimes to get people to pitch to him. He can change a game with one swing, and everybody knows that.

“When the ball comes off his bat, it’s different. I compare it to Xavier Isaac a couple of years ago (for East Forsyth). The ball would come off his bat about the same way. There’s a couple of guys that I played with at the college level. You can hear the ball come off the bat like that. When Coy makes contact, it’s different. Until you see it, you don’t really realize it.”

Davie put East on its heels in the top of the first. James doubled and Krause reached on one of East’s four errors. With two outs, Queen came through with a two-run double as the junior mashed the first offering he saw.

“It wasn’t even a strike,” Anderson said of James’ double. “He got out on his front foot. The kid threw him a curveball. Coy got way ahead of it and hit it hard down the third-base line.

“That was a huge hit (by Queen) and a huge confidence-booster for him, especially since I had taken him out of the two-hole and put him in the five-hole. He stroked it deep down the left-field line, and that set the tone for the game.”

East’s hole got a tad deeper in the fourth, when Logan Allen made his first varsity hit a memorable one. With McBride on second, he singled to make it 3-0.

“Logan got brought up because he was swinging the bat really well on JV,” Anderson said. “He was kind of nervous the first couple of games, and tonight he finally relaxed enough to get a single.”

Davie’s lead went from 3-1 to 5-1 in the sixth – more than enough support for Rodgers, who shook off a slow start and piled up nine Ks in five three-hit innings. After walking five in the first two frames, Rodgers found a groove and earned his third win.

“He was painting the outside corner,” Anderson said. “He settled in and threw really well.”

Davie thoroughly outplayed the hosts, outhitting East 8-4 and making one error to East’s four. Bliss went 2-3 with a double. Contributing one hit were Potts (1-3), Stewart (1-4), Queen (1-4) and Allen (1-2).

“It was good to see Cooper get off the schneid,” Anderson said. “It was a really good team win.”

Notes: As usual, Tucker Hobbs was money out of the bullpen. He faced seven batters in two scoreless innings. His ERA is 0.75 in six relief appearances and one start. “He just keeps pounding the zone and allowing the defense to play,” Anderson said. “I think he’s gaining confidence every day.” … Davie improved to 9-7 overall, while East stumbled to 13-5.