Prep Baseball: A.L. Brown 13, Salisbury 1

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 29, 2012

By Mike London
SALISBURY — A.L. Brown’s baseball team racked up a rare, 10-run rule victory at Salisbury’s Robertson Stadium.
“Oh, yeah, I can remember the last one,” Coach Empsy Thompson said. “Early last year. West Rowan.”
That pounding of the Falcons was one of only five victories the Wonders recorded in 2011 — against 20 defeats — but Wednesday’s easy 13-1 road win has them thinking positively about a new season.
“We were just dialed in today,” said DH Nate Sexton, who doubled twice and drove in three runs. “I think this will be good for us. We can build on it.”
Usually when the Wonders score 13, it means they had a bad snap on an extra point, but they swung the bats with authority against Salisbury pitchers Scott Freidrich and Riley Myers, and the Hornet hurlers didn’t get much help from their defense on a windswept afternoon.
“We’re breaking in two new outfielders, but we’ve still got to know our own field better than this,” SHS coach Scott Maddox said. “The wind always blows left to right here, balls are always going to drift, and we just didn’t make some plays that we’ve got to make.”
Obviously, a healthy Brian Bauk, a future college player, would’ve made some difference for the Hornets, but the junior is slated to stay on the shelf until March 20 — the day Salisbury opens CCC play. He’s still recovering from a football shoulder injury.
“Bauk’s close, but they’re taking his rehab slow, just like they should,” Maddox said. “There’s no reason to jeopardize his future by trying to rush him out here for some non-conference games.”
The only rushing on Wednesday was done by Wonders scurrying around the basepaths. In the top of the first, they turned two singles into three runs with aggressive baserunning, plus two Salisbury miscues.
Sexton’s first double keyed a three-run third that made it 6-0, and Micah Miller’s sac fly and Caleb Jackson’s windblown single made it 8-1 in the fourth.
The Wonders ventured into 10-run rule territory by sending 10 men to the plate in their five-run fifth. Sexton, leadoff man C.J. Powell and No. 9 hitter Ryan Austin finished with three hits each.
Salisbury never got much going offensively against Brown’s junior southpaw Eldon Peters, who faced just 13 batters in four innings of breezy work.
“My fastball, curve and changeup were all working,” Peters reported. “And when you get a lead in the first inning, it helps you relax.”
Peters helped the Wonders rebound from the 11-2 opening-day beating they took on Tuesday at 4A Sun Valley.
“Eldon’s not a fireballer,” Thompson said. “He pitches to contact, so the key is us making plays behind him. Today, we made those plays.”
The Hornets got their run in the third inning on singles by Skyler Mikkelson and Nathan Foster and Kyle Wolfe’s sacrifice fly.
“We had bad approaches against their left-hander,” Maddox added. “That’s not a guy you can try to pull, but we just kept trying. But it’s our first game. We’ll keep working, and we’ll get better.”
Sexton pitched the fifth and walked two of the first three men he faced, prompting one more long stroll to the mound by veteran pitching coach Ken Orbison.
“He told me to look at the scoreboard, that it was 13-1 and that I needed to throw some strikes,” Sexton said.
Sexton did, and the Wonders headed for home.