Peeler Classic Semifinal: Davie 12, North Rowan 0
By Mike London
SPENCER — Listening from the third-base coaching box, Davie County coach Mike Herndon enjoyed the reaction of North Rowan fans as his hard-hitting squad smoked liner after liner.
The delayed Cliff Peeler Baseball Classic semifinal began at 11 p.m. in Spencer, probably past Herndon’s bedtime, but his guys were swinging like it was high noon.
“We’ve been barreling up quite a few balls lately,” he said cheerfully. “It was good to hear all those oohs and aahs from the fans, like we were hitting balls really hard.”
4A Davie (18-2) breezed 12-0 in five innings over the 1A Cavaliers. Davie, which was designated as the home team, cracked nine hits, played errorless ball and limited North (15-5) to one scratch single.
“This is a mature team, and I really liked the mental focus we had,” Herndon said. “I mean, how many high school games start at 11? But we didn’t waste many at-bats and we played very good defense.”
Davie pitcher Corey Randall had a perfect game for three innings and still had a no-hitter through four when he was lifted.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever started a game so late, and I got up real early,” Randall said. “But once we finally got started, it felt like any other baseball game.”
Tyler Lee pitched the fifth for Davie. The first batter he faced was Matt Laurens, who slapped a routine grounder toward the second baseman.
But the infield was soggy, and Laurens, a lefty hitter who can run, busted it down the line. Laurens made it a close play and was deemed safe by the umpire, although Davie fans vocally disagreed with the verdict. Herndon, even with a 12-run lead, felt strongly enough to protest vigorously, until he was firmly instructed to “Cool it.”
Laurens was erased moments later on a double-play grounder, putting the Davie folks in a merrier mood.
“They hit it, their pitcher threw good strikes, and they made defensive plays even with the field being wet,” North senior Hunter Feezor said. “They’re very good.”
North, which had played YVC games on Tuesday and Thursday was short on arms, and sophomore jayvee Travis Holshouser was tossed into a tough situation. Give him credit for lasting three innings without calling 911 or running for the safety of the dugout.
As a freshman, Holshouser, was called upon to pitch against eventual champion Carson in the 2010 Peeler event, so he’s probably not a huge fan of Easter baseball.
“It’s not like North Rowan’s not a good team,” Herndon said. “The big advantage we have is depth. We put our No. 3 guy out there, and Randall’s still throwing it 86, 87, 88.”
Normally fiery North coach Aaron Rimer took this loss calmly. When you’re overmatched, you’re overmatched.
“It was David against Goliath, and normally Goliath wins,” he said with a shrug. “Mike’s got a solid team.”
Davie leadoff man Alex Newman greeted Holshouser with a sharp single in the first, and Connor Bodenhamer followed by belting a two-run homer to center field.
“I hadn’t hit one yet this year, and all the guys have been giving me crap about it,” a pleased Bodenhamer said. “I’ve been looking for it. I finally found it.”
Davie made it 3-0 when Carson Herndon lashed a wicked double and eventually scored on a throwing error.
Newman, who can fly, walked, stole his 17th base and scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-0 in the second.
Holshouser was unlucky in the third when Newman’s sky-high popup fell safely in right-center to plate two. Davie bunched five singles that inning and scored five times.
Javan Phillips’ RBI double off reliever Tyler Blume keyed DC’s three-run fourth that led to the 10-run rule.
Davie plays for the championship Monday at 7 p.m. against McMichael. North takes on Lake Norman for third at 4:30.
“At the beginning of the year, we set a goal of three championship plaques,” Bodenhamer said. “This tournament, the CPC and the state.”