Junior Legion rallies for 3-2 win

Published 10:29 am Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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By Brian Pitts

Davie Enterprise Record

A two-man army – Junior Vazquez and Dashel DesNoyers – lifted the Mocksville Junior Legion baseball team to an edge-of-your seat 3-2 win over Davidson County on June 17 at Rich Park.

One day earlier at Rich Park, however, Mocksville stood little chance in a 7-2 loss to Wilkes County. The visitors led 2-1 after three innings, but they began to pull away in the fourth. Wilkes was simply too good as it outhit Post 174 14-3.

Mocksville’s hits came from Joe Barnes, Joakim Rose and Joshua Whitaker, all of whom went 1 for 3. Charlie Young drew two walks. Whitaker did manage to keep Wilkes scoreless in 1.2 innings of relief.

Mock 3, Davidson 2

The stars of the show against Davidson County were Vazquez, who knocked in every run, and DesNoyers, who went the distance on the mound and averaged 12.4 pitches per inning.

It was a feel-good win, especially after dropping three of previous four games.

“These guys have been wanting to get better all year,” coach Blake Little said. “We’ve got a lot of tough teams in our division.”

Mocksville broke on top in the bottom of the second. After Luke Foster walked, Westin Vestal roped a double down the third-base line. That brought up Vazquez, who gave Mocksville the lead by chopping a single over the third baseman.

DesNoyers put up goose eggs in the first five innings, but Mocksville was in trouble when Davidson jumped in front 2-1 on a two-out, two-run double in the sixth. An error gave Davidson an extra out and played a role in the 2-1 deficit.

Mocksville, though, made up for that in its half of the sixth. Davidson helped out with an error on Brayden Carter’s grounder. The second batter of the inning, Rose, singled. Davidson got the next two batters and the promising opportunity rested on the shoulders of Vazquez, who quickly got down 0-2 in the count before he dug deep. Three straight balls were followed by a foul ball. With the count full, he singled down the line and plated the tying and go-ahead runs.

It was quite a breakthrough for Vazquez, who came in with 19 at-bats and a low batting average. His finest Legion hour saw him go 2 for 2 with all three RBIs – as well as a walk and two stolen bases.

“(In the game-deciding at-bat), there were a couple pickoffs in between there, so the suspense was getting to him a little bit, I think,” Little said. “But he ended up knocking a single down the line.”

Now it was up to DesNoyers and the defense to shut the door in the seventh. They did just that, although there was a one-out error that put the tying run on base. A popup to shortstop Barnes and a popup to third baseman Carter ended the night.

Rose (2-3, triple) matched Vazquez with two hits. Jesse Willard and Vestal both went 1-3 as both teams finished with six hits.

“(Vestal’s) been hitting the ball hard the past few games, just right at dudes,” Little said. “So he finally found holes.”

Of course, a big part of the story was DesNoyers, who pitched wonderfully even though it was his first mound start of the season. He tossed 55 of 87 pitches for strikes, did not allow an earned run and lowered his ERA to a tidy 1.57. What an effort for a kid who came in with 6.1 innings under his belt in three relief appearances.

“That double (in the sixth) was about the only bad pitch he had all game,” Little said. “He was just dealing. I mean, one bad pitch. At the beginning of the year, we didn’t even suspect he’d be one of our main guys – just kind of a cleanup guy. But he came in and just shoved it. We were searching for a guy to start and we were like: ‘Let’s throw Dashel out there.’ Then he comes out strong and gives us a complete game. That was awesome.”

Davidson 13, Mock 2

The third game in three days was a splash of cold water for Mocksville, which was hammered by Davidson County on June 18 at Rich Park.

Mocksville got outhit 14-3 and three pitchers combined to walk seven. One Davidson County player did more than enough damage to decide the outcome, the two-hole batter going 5 for 5 with seven RBIs.

The hits for Mocksville (5-10) came from Dylan Garwood (1-2), Carter (1-3) and Rose (1-3).