Prep Baseball: Salisbury 6, Central Davidson 1
By David Shaw
SALISBURY — Things aren’t as rotten as they look for Salisbury’s baseball team.
Granted, its 2-10 overall record is enough to make even the casual fan wince. But Friday’s well-played 6-1 victory over visiting Central Davidson squared the Hornets’ CCC record at 2-2.
“It really doesn’t matter if you’re 0-10 or 10-0 in non-conference,” coach Scott Maddox reasoned after SHS beat Central (3-7, 1-2) for the second time this week. “You get seeded in the playoffs by how you finish in the conference. But try to tell a coach or kids that it doesn’t matter. It matters every time you come out here.”
It mattered to junior third-baseman Parker McKeithan, who went 3-for-4 and delivered a pair of run-scoring singles.
“I’m about to turn it up right here,” he said afterward. “The whole team is.”
It mattered to Scott Vanderpoel, who belted an RBI triple off the padded left-center field fence in the bottom of the sixth inning. “
That might have been out last year,” Maddox beamed. “The fences weren’t moved in, b ut the padding we’ve added is about eight feet high.”
But most of all, this night belonged to winning pitcher Brian Bauk. The junior righthander hurled a complete-game four-hitter, notched 11 strikeouts and fired first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 28 batters he faced.
“Strike one is the hardest pitch to get,” Bauk said after retiring 12 of the last 14 Central hitters. “But as soon as you get one — and you’ve found your stride and your release point — everything just falls into place.”
Bauk blended two-seam and four-seam fastballs with a knee-buckling cutter in a commanding performance. He routinely had Central’s hitters pounding foul balls into the ground and waving at heaters that crossed just below the knees, bathed in dirt.
“It was his cutter,” said freshman catcher Riley Myers. “It was working all night long — and it was dirty.”
Bauk appears to have fully recovered from the separated left shoulder he suffered in Salisbury’s season-ending football loss at Thomasville last November.
“He’s a competitive kid,” Maddox said. “Sometimes he’s too competitive. I worry about him on the bases.”
Central coach Matt Parsons commended Bauk for deceptively hitting his spots and moving the ball around the strike zone.
“His curveball looked very much like his fastball,” Parsons said. “And this umpire was calling low strikes, so sometimes you have to swing at pitches you don’t want to.”
Salisbury took a 1-0 lead against senior righthander Andrew Everhart (0-4) in the bottom of the first when Kyle Wolfe singled, stole second and scored when McKeithan whipped an 0-2 pitch up the middle.
“It was a curveball,” he said. “I saw it deep and hit it where it was supposed to be hit.”
An inning later the Hornets loaded the bases and Bauk paddled a two-run single into right field. Wolfe’s groundout made it 4-0 after two.
“The difference,” Parsons said, “is they got hits with runners in scoring position and we didn’t.”
Bauk worked out of a jam in the top of the fourth when Central put two runners on with none out. He escaped by fanning John Hanes and Daniel Martin, then inducing an inning-ending groundout.
“He’s that good,” Myers said. “That was Brian Bauk times two.”
The guests scored their lone run in the fifth when Jordan Lakey flared an RBI single into right. Salisbury added single runs in the fifth and sith innings, then watched Bauk retire the side in order in the top of the seventh.
“Now we’re 2-2 in the conference and we’re excited to play,” Bauk concluded. “We’re having fun and that’s the best part of it.”