Salisbury routs West Davidson
TYRO — That nice start West Davidson’s baseball team was off to in the 2013 season ran into a cold dose of Central Carolina Conference reality known as Salisbury on a blustery Tuesday afternoon at Feezor Field.
West coach Jerry Walser normally gathers his team at the pitching mound after the game for a short chat, especially following a win. But after the Green Dragons got dominated 10-2 by the Hornets, a visibly Walser sent his players through the gate in the center field fence.
“This one’s going to take a while,” Walser said, whose team was 5-1 going into the game.
There was a lot for Walser to talk about — walks, hit batsmen, wild pitches, stolen bases, errors, falling behind almost immediately,10 hits allowed — to Salisbury. Stuff that Walser doesn’t want to see.
“We didn’t play well,” Walser said. “We didn’t prepare to play well and we didn’t. We need to understand that preparation is a part of winning. We didn’t do that in no way, shape or form.”
On the other hand, there wasn’t a whole lot for Salisbury coach Scott Maddox, whose team limped into the game with a 2-4 record, not to like.
Sophomore right-hander Riley Myers hurled a bend-but-not-break five hitter over six innings, despite issuing four walks and not striking out a batter. Shortstop Brian Bauk was 3-for-4 with an RBI, scored four runs and stole three bases and left-fielder Ben Ritchie was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.
Well, there was one thing Maddox didn’t like.
“We could have played better defense and I know Jerry’s not happy,” Maddox said. “They had a rough first inning and we’ve had a couple of those, too. It’s good to get a win against those guys any time you can get one. We were 0-for against them last year.”
West starter Chandler Simerson struck out Myers to open the game but quickly got gave up a single to Bauk and a pair of walks to load the bases. Ritchie brought home the first run on a fielder’s choice. Moments later, Simerson walked Scott Friedrich to force in a run and hit designated hitter Jim Leone to force in another run to make it 3-0.
Staked to the early cushion, Myers (2-1) caught Matt Berrier’s pop up to open the bottom of the first. That kind of set the tone for Myers, who made an unusual five putouts for a pitcher — two catches on pop-ups, two on line drives and one where he fielded a grounder and tagged the runner. The free-swinging Dragons made four first-pitch and two second-pitch outs.
“That comes down to preparation,” Walser said. “You’ve got to come to the plate like you’re expecting to hit. We didn’t do that.”
Simerson (2-1) settled down for the next two innings but things came apart when the Hornets scored four unearned runs in part because of a dropped throw, a dropped fly ball and a throwing error. The hulking 6-5 McKeithan drove in the first run of the inning on a bases-loaded infield single. Ritchie then laid down a perfect bunt on a suicide squeeze. The Hornets scored two runs on the play when Simerson, trying to get the out at the plate, threw the ball to the backstop. Cody Veras, replacing the injured Leone, drew a base-loaded walk to make it 7-0. At that point, Zach Queen came on in relief.
West’s hitters finally started working Myers, who had thrown 35 pitches in three innings, to work deeper in the count. The Dragons broke through with a pair of runs on Max Allen’s fielder’s choice grounder and an Justin Smith’s infield RBI single. Graham Shoaf followed with a single but Myers got Kyle Smith on an infield pop fly to end the inning, much to the delight of his coach.
“Riley didn’t have his best stuff today,” Maddox said. “But he’s grown up a lot. He’s maintaining his composure a lot better. He did a great job.”
Salisbury got a run in the top of the sixth on back-to-back doubles by Bauk and Chance Bowden, who was 2-for-4.
The Hornets finished their scoring in the seventh when Bauk doubled home a run and Queen uncorked a wild pitch.
Bowden pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh to close it out for the Hornets.
“I’m not happy until it’s over,” Maddox said. “Jerry’s team doesn’t quit. They battle and battle and battle.”
Meanwhile, the Dragons are hoping they don’t replicate Tuesday’s game.
“You can’t make mistakes and it’s that simple, especially against a good team like Salisbury,” Walser said. “They came in here feeling like they had something to prove. We beat them twice last year and they played well today.”
The two teams play again at 4:30 p.m. Friday in Salisbury.
Notes: Berrier was 2-for-4. ... Simerson gave five hits and seven runs — three earned — with five walks and three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. ... Queen gave up five hits and three earned runs with no walks and six strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings.