Davie baseball loses slugfest in round 2

Published 12:31 pm Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The Davie baseball team, which gained a second life during a 3-2, 12-inning win at Watauga, hit like crazy in the second-round playoff game at Cox Mill on May 10.

Although the War Eagles were hardly an offensive juggernaut this season, they scored three runs in the top of the first, two in the second and three in the third.

Coach Joey Anderson was crossing his fingers for just one shutdown inning in the early going, but it wasn’t to be. The Chargers scored three in each of their first three at-bats, and they would outlast Davie 11-9.

“We just could not make a stop,” Anderson said. “It wasn’t the fact that Cooper (Bliss) pitched bad. We made mental errors that just killed us. We might’ve given up one run, but then we made that error or that mistake and it turned into three runs.”

And then: “If we would’ve gotten a stop in any of those first three innings, we would have probably won that game, especially after scoring three runs in the first inning. If we would have gotten a stop there, they would have been done. Their demeanor would have been a lot different.”

Hunter Potts (4 for 4 with a walk) and Drew Krause (3-4, two RBIs, double) were shining stars as Davie jumped to leads of 3-0, 5-3 and 8-6. Davie got splendid stuff from Bliss (2-3, three RBIs, double, two walks) and Logan Allen (2-4). Coy James (1-5) and Coston Colamarino (1-4) helped Davie outhit Cox Mill 13-9.

The War Eagles, though, committed four errors and their pitching was drained from the 12-inning marathon three nights earlier at Watauga.

“We hit the ball probably better than we have all year, which was kind of a shock to all of us,” Anderson said. “When Coy was standing on second, one of their players said: ‘From everything we’ve read, y’all can’t hit.’ Coy was like: ‘We’ve played some pretty good teams and we’ve faced good pitching throughout the year.’”

In the fifth, Davie scratched out a run to tie the game at 9-9. With two outs and nobody on, Krause singled on a two-strike pitch. After Potts singled, Bliss knotted the score by singling on an 0-2 offering.

“They threw a lefty and the only other lefty we saw this year, we hit the snot out of it – and that was in a scrimmage game,” Anderson said. “Drew had a real good game. He was frustrated a little bit after Watauga. He didn’t swing it the way he wanted to, so he stepped up pretty big and found some gaps.”

But Davie hit a wall in the fourth, scoring just one run over the final four innings, and Cox Mill took the lead for keeps in the sixth. A couple of doubles and a sac fly lifted the Chargers in front 11-9.

Potts kept Davie alive in the seventh, singling to center with two outs. But three pitches later, the curtain came down on the visitors.

“We tried,” Anderson said after 22nd-seeded Davie gave No. 6 Cox Mill a scare. “We gave them a run.”

Record Book

• James has been so dynamic in his three-year career that it was hardly a surprise to see him do something legendary like becoming the first Davie player to ever hit .400-plus three times. He hit .409 as a freshman, .451 as a sophomore and .413 as a junior. Corey Randall (2011-12), Andrew Daywalt (2001-02) and Whit Merrifield (2005-06) had two .400 seasons each. James’ 18 steals are the most in 13 years (Alex Newman had 19 in 2011).

• What a force Potts became in his first varsity season. He hit a team-best .428. That ranks No. 16 overall and eighth among non-seniors.

“Once I moved him to the three hole, he took ownership of being the hitter that I expected him to be for the last couple of years,” Anderson said of the junior. “He stopped getting frustrated if he had a bad at-bat. He went through the mental preparation of that, and he would let that go. He grew up a lot this year; that was a big plus for us. Next year he will get more comfortable in the outfield position because he’s technically a catcher, but he filled that outfield role. He’s going to be very beneficial to us next year.”

• You could always count on Davie’s senior pitchers. Connor Berg was brilliant while putting up the finest ERA (1.62) in five years. (Carson Whisenhunt had an 0.98 ERA in 2019.) Braeden Rodgers had the most strikeouts (64) since Whisenhunt’s 96 in 2019. Those two will be hard to replace in 2025.

“Our pitching staff is going to be inexperienced, so we’re gonna have to find one somewhere,” Anderson said. “Of the ones coming back, Tucker Hobbs and Parker Davis are about the only ones that saw quite a bit of time.”

Notes: At Cox Mill, Bliss made just his third start on the mound. He went three innings after working 18 innings in the first 23 games. Although he was touched for nine runs, only four were earned. Hobbs went a season-long three innings in his eighth relief appearance. He gave up one earned run. … At 13-11, it was Davie’s third winning season under third-year coach Anderson. … The favored Chargers, who improved to 20-4, allowed the most runs in seven games. … Cox Mill lost 5-0 to Charlotte Catholic in the third round.