Prep baseball: Carson 9, A.L. Brown 1

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 8, 2012

By Mike London
KANNAPOLIS — No. 3 starter Dillon Atwell demonstrated the depth of Carson’s pitching staff on Thursday afternoon at A.L. Brown’s Veterans Field.
The soph barely broke a sweat in five dominant innings that included seven strikeouts, and Carson cruised 9-1.
“Atwell’s confidence was awesome,” Carson coach Chris Cauble said. “He believed in all his pitches. He surprised them with breaking balls on 3-2 counts and breaking balls behind in the count.”
Brown’s fourth, which included three quick groundball outs, was Atwell’s best inning, even though it was the only one in which he didn’t record a strikeout.
“Dillon might’ve missed one spot all day,” reported catcher Bryson Prugh. “His fastball was moving. His curve was great. He was just locked in. We couldn’t have asked for any more.”
Atwell co-starred with his batterymate. Prugh’s two-run bomb in the fourth for a 4-0 lead was the first homer of the season for the Cougars (3-2).
Prugh, who also doubled, got his confidence back. His only other start of the young season — against Cox Mill — had been fairly disastrous.
“I had to bench him in the second inning of that one for lack of hustle,” Cauble said. “But he answered his wakeup call today.”
Cauble also has been thrilled with the catching of Scottie Hinson, so the Cougars are as deep behind the plate as they are on the mound.
How deep? Austin Bracewell pitched the sixth. Blake Cauble hurled the seventh.
Carson had scored just two runs in its previous two games, but it had faced East Rowan ace Bradley Robbins and Robinson’s Brody Koerner, the SPC’s top hurler.
Greg Tonnesen and Connor Bridges had two hits each for the Cougars, who collected 12 against Brown hurlers Nate Sexton and Caleb Jackson.
Sexton didn’t walk anyone in his five innings, and it was a competitive 4-0 ballgame until the Cougars took advantage of Wonder miscues to score four times in the sixth.
Brown, which only had three hits, didn’t dent the scoreboard until the seventh when Jackson doubled and scored on a misplayed flyball.
“Carson was aggressive with the bats and we couldn’t generate anything at all offensively,” Brown coach Empsy Thompson said.
Atwell (2-0), who closed for South Rowan’s Legion team last summer, turned in his second straight strong start.
“Starting or relieving, it’s about throwing strikes,” he said. “I felt good today and guys made plays. That gave me a lot of confidence.”