Prep Baseball: Salisbury 0, Central Davidson 0
By Paul Hershey
SALISBURY — Salisbury got bad news before even one pitch was thrown Friday when rightfielder Nolan Meyerhoeffer couldn’t play after arriving to the field late.
Once the game started, things only got worse for the Hornets, who were outhit and outpitched by Central Davidson in losing a key early-season Central Carolina Conference game 10-3.
The lone blemish for Central’s junior righthander Dillon Hampton — and only bright spot in the whole game for Salisbury — came on a three-run homer by sophomore Clint Veal in the fifth. But by then, the Spartans had already built a comfortable 8-0 lead.
“It was an important game,” disappointed Salisbury coach Scott Maddox said. “If you go 2-0 it gives you an up in the conference and an opportunity to put a little distance between yourself and other people. We didn’t do that. It was almost to the point where if I had the money I’d just give everybody their five dollars back because that wasn’t the kind of effort that the Salisbury High baseball team needs to give. Central came out and did what they needed to do.”
Central Davidson (5-2, 2-0) took control with a four-run second inning, scored in every frame except for two and got a complete-game from Hampton, who allowed eight hits, struck out eight and walked one.
“He’s come alive for us this year,” Central coach Greg Peters said. “He had a great legion season last summer and has come back ready to go. He had the off-speed working, he was hitting his spots with his fastball, he stayed down for the most part and worked ahead of batters. He didn’t throw a whole of innings for us last year. The last couple weeks he’s been unbelievable.”
They knocked Salisbury starter Philip Tonseth out in the second with four hits, including a two-run double by No. 9 hitter Logan Frank and an RBI double by Andrew Everhart.
With Central ahead 3-0, Maddox pulled his lefthander after he had complained of tightness in his arm following the first.
“He came in after the first inning and he said he was getting tight in his forearm,” Maddox said. “It didn’t hurt, but it tightened up. He went out the next inning and it was still tight. You could tell he didn’t have the zip on his fastball and his breaking pitch wasn’t working.”
Chance Bowden relieved and an error and a wild pitch scored the fourth run of the inning.
The Spartans then scored single runs in the third and fourth and two each in the fifth and sixth against Bowden and three other Salisbury relievers, totaling 13 hits in the game.
“If you can get into a team’s bullpen early, you’re going to have a lot of success,” Peters said. “I’ve coached against Philip in cross country and he’s an unbelievable competitor. I was really surprised that we jumped on him the way we did, but we came out hungry tonight.”
Frank crushed a solo homer — just his second in high school — in the fourth inning, finishing 2 for 3 with four RBIs, while Hampton helped his own cause with three hits and three RBIs.
“I told the kids coming out that I wanted to score a bunch of runs tonight, first and foremost, and they did that,” Peters said. “I was real pleased with the way we hit the ball.”
Salisbury, meanwhile, couldn’t put anything together against Hampton before it was too late.
Trailing 5-0, the Hornets (4-4, 1-1) stranded two runners in the third and then left men on second and third with one out in the fourth.
“(Hampton) did what he had to do to shut us down,” Maddox said. “I don’t think our approach at the plate was particularly great. Not only could we not hit it, we didn’t do a good job of pitch selection to hit. Hitting’s tough, but I would like to see us take a little better approach and that’s just something we have to work on as the season goes along.”
Spencer Carmichael (2 for 3) was the lone Hornet with more than one hit.
“We just didn’t come out and play the way we need to play if we want to be a contender and not a pretender,” Maddox said.
“Baseball’s a funny game. You’ve got to come ready to play every night. If you don’t, things like tonight… you just don’t show up and the other team puts a lickin’ on you.”