Senior Legion breaks through win column

Published 10:44 am Tuesday, June 4, 2024

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By Brian Pitts

Davie Enterprise Record

The sky was falling on the Mocksville Sr. Legion baseball team as it traveled 79 miles to Anson County on May 31. The team was winless, and with Rowan County and Randolph County coming up over the weekend, it needed a win over Anson like the desert needs rain.

Mocksville vented its frustrations, finally broke into the win column and evoked a huge sigh of relief from coach Tristan “Shaggy” Wyatt.

“It was heartfelt,” he said.

Davidson 5, Mocksville 3

Mocksville took a hard loss from visiting Davidson County on May 28. Cooper Bliss pitched six innings with zero walks and seven strikeouts, but wound up with a no decision as Davidson snatched victory in the seventh inning.

Bliss held the visitors to two runs and gave all he had to give in his first mound start of the season.

“I saw his second-round playoff game at Cox Mill (when he started on the mound for Davie),” Wyatt said. “I noticed his follow-through. I could tell he was trying to overdo a lot of things, so I spoke with him before this game. I said: ‘Look man,  this is what I want to focus on, getting first-pitch strikes.’ And he got that done. He was cruising the whole game. Davidson did put some runners in scoring positions, but he managed to get out of it every time. After giving up a run in the first inning, he was dialed in from then on.”

Davidson erased Mocksville’s 2-1 lead in the sixth, but Mocksville broke the tie in the bottom half. Jay Brookshire walked, stole second, stole third and trotted home on Jacob Hicks’ single.

Mocksville had a 3-2 lead, but it wasn’t a safe lead. After getting greeted with back-to-back hits, reliever Cooper Whitley rallied for back-to-back strikeouts and was on the brink of closing it out. Alas, a walk loaded the bases. Then came a three-run double to turn the lead into the 5-3 deficit.

“(Whitley) did the best he could do,” Wyatt said. “It’s just that Davidson was getting little bloopers. They were just fortunate to find holes.”

Myles Crocker opened the home half of the seventh with a walk, but the next three batters got out and Davidson had escaped.

“That’s kind of been our luck,” Wyatt said. “Over the three games we’ve played, we’ve managed to get guys on base but they seem to make a good play and get out of the inning. Twice we had bases loaded and no outs, and both times we only got one run. That hurt us right there.”

Mocksville got one hit from Jacob Fleming (1-3), Crocker (1-3), Mason Moxley (1-2), Brookshire (1-2) and Hicks (1-2).

High Point 11, Mock 4

One night later at home, Mocksville hit rock bottom. Four pitchers combined for eight walks, it was held to six hits and the record sank to 0-4. Even worse, Post 174 had been outscored 34-17.

The only pitcher who did not yield a run was the fourth one of the night, Joakim Rose, who worked a hitless seventh.

Crocker went 2 for 3. The ones with one hit were Bryson Morrison (1-4), Evan Hyde (1-2), Moxley (1-3) and Will Wands (1-2).

Mock 7, Anson 2

When Mocksville (1-4) headed way down to Wadesboro on May 31, it was coughing and wheezing.

• The team batting average was .261.

• It was averaging 4.2 runs per game and allowing 8.5.

• It was averaging 7.2 hits a game with only eight extra-base knocks in four games.

• The pitching staff’s ERA was 7.51.

Mocksville was desperate for a hero. Instead of finding one, it broke the huge funk by committee – hits from eight guys in the lineup and effective pitching from all three arms.

“This game was in my mind because we hadn’t had our first win yet and we needed it, especially with having to play Rowan and Randolph next,” Wyatt said. “So it’s not going to get any easier from here. So we needed to take the game serious, and that’s what I told the boys. Hey, jump out early. Once we jumped out early, I was able to have some comfort and put in some subs and let those guys play. They capitalized pretty well.”

Sean Doty, a player from West Forsyth, was a massive spark in his first Mocksville start on the hill. He had a no-hitter for 3.1 innings, the streak ending with a one-out double in the fourth. He struck out six straight between the second and third. His fastball pop was on full display as he collected nine Ks in 4.2 innings. Anson County could only manage one hit off Doty.

“I said: ‘Look, I don’t need fancy. I don’t need you to overwork. I just need you to get ahead, let them swing away and let your defense work,’” Wyatt said. “He took control. I told him to focus on his fastball because he tends to get a little wild at times. So this was good work for him. I had to take him out because he was getting high on his pitch count and he also was starting to get a blister on his throwing hand.”

The relief guys were strong as well. Brookshire, from North Iredell, struck out three of four batters in his 1.1 innings. Morrison, a North Iredell graduate who saw his first pitching action of the season, saw four batters in a 13-pitch seventh.

“Jay’s the utility guy for me,” Wyatt said. “He pitches, he plays outfield and he can play first as well. He does not throw hard. He’s one of those guys that has a slow curveball and he let’s it ride. And they typically miss. He did his job.

“(Morrison’s) a guy that hardly ever throws. He’s looking to go to Surry Community College.”

Mocksville’s offense quickly found its spirit, scoring the first four runs of the game in the second. Whitley, Aundray Russell, Brookshire and Morrison had base knocks that were blended with two walks.

Mocksville scored three more in the fourth to all but put it away. Getting one hit each were Russell (1-5), Brookshire (1-5), Morrison (1-2), Caden Irvin (1-3), Shawn Sealey (1-3), Joshua Phelps (1-2, two RBIs), Bliss (1-1, two walks) and Whitley (1-3).

The seven runs were a season high for Mocksville. It had eight stolen bases through four games; it had eight in Wadesboro alone.