Prep baseball: Salisbury loses on walkoff against West Davidson

Published 12:53 am Wednesday, May 6, 2015

By Mike Duprez

The Lexington Dispatch

THOMASVILLE — It didn’t just seem like West Davidson was leaving runners in scoring position all afternoon. It was a fact.

So when Justin Gobble strode toward the plate with teammate Justin “Lefty” Freeman standing on second base with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, he decided it was time to do something about it.

Gobble’s hard-hit ground single through the right side of the infield brought Freeman home with the winning run, enabling the top-seeded Green Dragons to take a dramatic 2-1 win over fourth-seeded Salisbury in the semifinals of the Central Carolina Conference tournament Tuesday at Finch Field.

“Oh, man, it’s awesome,” Gobble said. “We left a lot of runners in scoring position over the course of the game. We finally drove one in. It’s awesome.”

Freeman led off the seventh with a single to right off Salisbury reliever Ryan Jones. Pinch hitter Caleb Bauguess then sacrificed Freeman to second. With first base open, the Hornets decided to intentionally walk Daulton Anderson.

Gobble then jumped on a 1-0 pitch for the walkoff.

“I think in the first six innings we stranded everybody in Tyro,” said West Davidson coach Jerry Walser.

The Dragons stranded 10 runners, three times leaving the bases loaded as Salisbury starter Riley Myers kept pitching out of trouble. Myers fanned 10 in 5 2/3 innings, including four with the bases loaded.

“Riley Myers is one of the best pitchers in our league,” Walser said. “He’s been doing that all year.”

Freeman (8-0) wasn’t as flashy but recorded yet another complete game victory despite giving up nine hits. The Louisburg-bound ace struck out five and walked three.

Salisbury fell to 17-8 but still on track to get a wild card berth in the 2-A state playoffs.

“It was a good game,” said Salisbury coach Scott Maddox. “Our kids, we battled. Like I told them, honestly, we got out of a lot of jams early. They (West) kept persevering and in the end got the hit they needed to win the game. If we can play with these guys, we can play with anybody in 2-A.”

The Hornets took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when John Yang tripled and scored on Will Steinman’s single. Salisbury might have gotten more but Freeman got J.T. Austin to ground into an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play.

A little bit of small ball helped West tie the game in the bottom of the third. Tyler led off with a walk, moved to second on a passed ball, took third on Freeman’s grounder and scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Holden Lanier. The Hornets had a play at the plate but Hunt knocked the ball loose from catcher Steinman’s glove with his slide. West managed to load the bases again but once Myers got a pair of back-to-back strikeouts to prevent any further damage.

The Dragons did force Myers to throw 74 pitches in the first three innings and that eventually took a toll. Myers issued a pair of walks on eight straight balls to load the bases with two out in the sixth. Maddox turned to Jones, who got Hunt on a fielder’s choice grounder to end the inning.