F&M Classic: Northwest Cabarrus 11, Carson 2
By Mike London
KANNAPOLIS ó Both pitches were out of the strike zone, but Northwest Cabarrusí Corey Seager hit them both out of Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium.
A long, long way out of Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium.
Seager, a 6-foot-3 junior shortstop committed to South Carolina, teamed with senior southpaw Rob Bain to power the Trojans to an 11-2 win against Carson on Thursday in the F&M Bank Classic.
ěWe really needed this because weíd lost two straight against teams we felt that we should beat,î Bain said. ěThis was a come-from-behind win against a good team and that could lead to something.î
Seager, one of the top prospects in the prep class of 2012, crushed his ninth homer on an outside pitch and his 10th ó a grand slam ó on a pitch that was down and in.
ěSo where do you pitch him?î said Carsonís Chris Cauble, speaking for coaches everywhere. ěHeís great. You just donít see kids like that come along very often.î
The Cougars (14-7) scored first in the second inning with some nice little-ball execution.
Starting pitcher Gavin Peeler singled, Connor Bridges walked, Dylan Carpenter moved both runners with a bunt, and K.J. Pressley lofted a sacrifice fly.
Where the game turned was the top of the third. Still leading 1-0, Carson had the bases loaded with two out against Davidson signee Bain (8-1), and Bain fell behind in the count on Bridges 2-0. Bain battled back to get a momentum-changing strikeout.
ěBain threw a lot of strikes,î Hubbard said. ěHe didnít get himself into trouble and we played clean behind him. We didnít kick it today.î
Seagerís first homer came in the bottom of the third for a 1-1 tie. It disappeared over the wall in right-center near the 375-foot marker.
ěThat pitch is 6 inches outside, but he got his arms extended on it,î Cauble said.
Carson nicked Bain for its other run in the fourth when Pressley showed bunt, then punched a ball through the infield to score Dylan Carpenter. Bain got a double-play ball to limit the damage, but Carson led 2-1, and Cauble liked the way things were going.
ěPeeler was mixing it up and was in control,î he said. ěAnd for 31/2 innings, we were about flawless defensively and we were hitting the ball against a quality pitcher.î
The bottom of the fourth, however, was a Carson nightmare. Tanner Bigham (3-for-4) and Jarrin Hogue had the only hits, but Northwest (16-6) scored six times. Carson donated five walks and four errors, throwing it around quite a bit. Probably it was the worst half-inning the usually sound Cougars have played all season.
ěOur guys had good approaches at the plate, Carson made a few mistakes, and we took advantage when we had an opportunity to put up a big number,î Hubbard said.
Seager, who struck out in his first at-bat and was hit by a pitch after his first homer, iced the cake with his fifth-inning slam, a towering drive that he pulled to right against reliever Austin Bracewell.
It wasnít a bad pitch by Bracewell, but Seager 7-ironed it right off his ankles.
ěIt was high, so maybe the wind helped it out,î Seager said with a smile. ěWeíve been struggling some, and a lot of teams havenít pitched to me. When people do pitch to me, itís been a lot of curveballs or pitches that are outside.î
One thingís certain.
If Carson sees Northwest in the playoffs, Seager (6-for-7 in the tournament) isnít going to see a pitch in his area code.