Prep baseball: Salisbury 4, East Davidson 3
By Jason Queen
THOMASVILLE — East Davidson’s baseball team committed three errors Tuesday night in the semifinals of the CCC tournament against Salisbury.
With Brian Bauk on the mound for the Hornets, giving Salisbury extra outs is not a good idea.
Bauk was dominant, striking out 12 while allowing only three hits, and two Salisbury relievers survived a wild scare in the bottom of the seventh as the Hornets held on for a 4-3 victory at Finch Field. With the win, the Hornets grabbed the No. 2 seed from the CCC heading into next week’s 2-A state playoffs and earned a berth in Thursday’s CCC tourney finals against West Davidson.
Leading 4-1 in the seventh, Salisbury coach Scott Maddox lifted Bauk after he issued a two-out walk to Brock Goodyear. Sam Murph didn’t provide much relief, walking Nick Williams and Preston Gammons on eight straight balls to load the bases.
“It was a little bit nerve-wracking,” Maddox said. “I told the kid I put in, Murph, ‘Thanks for making it exciting,’” Maddox said with a grin.
Maddox then called on Kyle Wolfe to get out of it, and Tyler Stroup ripped his second pitch up the middle for a two-run single to get the Eagles within 4-3. Then things got really hairy as Gammons and Stroup executed a double steal, and catcher Riley Myers’ throw to third sailed into left field.
But Gammons found himself pinned under mammoth third baseman Parker McKeithan after his slide, and he couldn’t get up to race home with the tying run. That left East coach Dan Tricarico pointing at the dustup to the umpire, but no obstruction was called. Wolfe blew a high fastball by Josh Craven on the next pitch for a strikeout, and the Eagles were down.
Tricarico, frustrated with the loss, refused to comment after the game, instead deferring to assistant coach Brian Gusa. “Being a former umpire, I understand that that’s an incidental contact rule there,” Gusa said. “Both players are going for the baseball, there’s nothing you can do.”
Bauk was no help to the Eagles. Nathan Campbell’s RBI single in the second was all the damage he allowed in the first six innings, He struck out 10 in that span.
Salisbury’s bats were hot all night, putting pressure on the Eagles’ defense, and the Eagles didn’t respond as cleanly as normal. Wolfe scored off a pair of East miscues in the second, then Bauk walked and came around to score on Scott Vanderpoel’s RBI double in the third to make it 2-1. The Hornets got just enough insurance in the fifth, and Bauk was again the catalyst. He sliced a one-out single up the middle, then Vanderpoel lined a base hit to left. McKeithan plated Bauk with a base knock and, after East intentionally walked Bowden to load the bases, Murph laced a shot to center to make it 4-1.
Bauk struck out Campbell and Avery Bowles to open the bottom of the seventh, but he hit his pitch count after walking Goodyear, and the relievers did just enough to secure the win.
Salisbury, which was the No. 3 seed for the tournament, will be the No. 2 seed for the 2-A state playoffs. East, which dipped to the third seed for the playoffs, will travel to face the top seed from the Catawba Valley Conference in the opener May 11.
Campbell had two hits for the Eagles, while Vanderpoel and Bowden had three hits apiece for the Hornets.