Prep Baseball: Central Davidson 4, North Rowan 1
By David Shaw
SPENCER ó The beatings go on for North Rowan’s baseball team.
This time the winless Cavs were befuddled by lefthander Chaz Frank and Central Davidson in Friday’s 4-1 CCC loss.
“When we started the season I knew we had decent pitching,” first-year coach Rob Linder said after North (0-11, 0-4) was checked on three hits. “But all along, it was gonna come down to if we could hit and score some runs.”
They didn’t do much of anything against Frank, a junior who has already verbally committed to play outfield for North Carolina. He used a tailing fastball and a curve that spun in-and-out of the strike zone to fan 11 batters, including the last seven he faced.
“At this point in the season, we have to have performances like that,” winning coach Jonathan Brown said after Central (4-4, 2-1) climbed into third place in the league standings. “He worked ahead in the count. He changed speeds. And you know how those lefties get a little run on their ball. He had some pitches running that got up on them quicker than they realized.”
Frank pitched a complete-game and finished strong, retiring the last 10 North hitters. North was limited to Shane Ogg’s second-inning double, Nick Smith’s fourth-inning triple and Travis Honeycutt’s RBI-single.
“That’s been the story the whole year,” said teammate Billy Veal. “We’re basically three or four hits away from beating teams.”
Veal was caught looking at third strikes twice by Frank.
“We haven’t faced a lot of left-handers,” he said. “But this guy was real decisive with his curveball. I saw nothing but curveballs, six times in a row. He just kept us off-balance.”
Lost in the disappointment was an encouraging pitching effort by Smith. The tall senior right-hander worked six innings for the Cavs, yielded three earned runs, struck out nine and walked none.
“He pitched well enough to win,” said Linder. “He did the same thing against East Davidson.”
Smith took the blame for Central’s first run. The guests took a 1-0 lead in the top of fourth when Zack Briggs crushed a leadoff ground-rule double to left-center and advanced to third on a groundout. Working from the stretch, Smith was momentarily rattled by the baserunner and committed a balk.
“I thought they were going to pull a squeeze,” he said, “and I buckled my knee.”
North tied the score in the last of the fourth when Smith tripled into the right-field corner and crossed on Honeycutt’s one-out flare into shallow right.
Central took the lead for good an inning later when first-baseman Jordan Hedrick ó the No. 8 hitter in the Spartans’ lineup ó yanked an 0-1 fastball over the fence in left-center.
“I tried to go inside on him,” Smith reported. “But I left it up and over the middle.”
In the sixth inning the wheels came spinning off for North. Central scored its last two runs ó one on a throwing error and another when Ben Frazier slid under infielder Dakota Brown’s throw to the plate.
Afterward, both Veal and Smith talked about the Cavs’ continued frustration.
“It is,” Veal said. “But we’ve got a team we can win with.”
Added Smith: “You hold a team like Central Davidson to four runs, you should win. So I think it’s gonna come. It’s gonna happen for us.”
Contact David Shaw at firstname.lastname@example.org.