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Prep Baseball: Carson shuts out North

By Mike London

mike.london@salisburypost.com

CHINA GROVE — In the estimation of coach Chris Cauble, Carson took a few baby steps forward in Wednesday’s 3-0 non-conference win against North Rowan.
“We put it in play better today,” Cauble said. “We got people on base. We quadrupled our hit total from our first game, but somehow we scored one less run. So what we’ve got to work on now is getting guys in. It doesn’t have to be a with a hit, but we have to get them in.”
Carson stranded 12 baserunners.
Cauble acknowledged Carson’s 4-3 South Piedmont Conference win over Central Cabarrus on Tuesday, a game in which Carson was limited to three hits, was pretty fortunate.
Carson (2-0) also was a little fortunate against North (1-1). While Carson got 12 hits, it didn’t hammer the ball against North starter Noah Gonzalez, a hard-throwing right-hander, or Brandon White, a crafty lefty who took over in the fourth inning and blanked the Cougars the rest of the way.
“Both of our guys threw well, and Brandon came in and got out of a jam with ease,” North coach Aaron Rimer said. “Give Carson credit for getting a lot of hits, but not many were hit hard. They just found holes. They couldn’t have thrown some of those balls out there any better.”
Owen White had three hits to lead Carson’s attack — a check-swing single, a bunt single and a line-drive single.
The Cougars scored single runs in each of the first three innings against Gonzalez, a hurler that Rimer said was recently clocked at 88 mph.
“Gonzalez was impressive,” Cauble said. “He’s always thrown hard. Today was the first time I’ve seen him stay in the strike zone consistently.”
Brandon Mock, Ryan Bearden and Grayson Whicker produced two-out hits for a Carson run in the first.
Carson got a run in the second inning when Ben Shoaf scored from third base as Aldyn Blackwelder bounced into a double play.
Brycen Holshouser’s double scored Whicker for the final run of the game in the third inning.
That was plenty of run support for Cameron Prugh, a sophomore expected to be Carson’s No. 3 starter. Prugh’s six innings were efficient, strike-filled frames on a blustery, shivery, uncomfortable day. He got ahead of hitters and threw only 61 pitches.
“North’s got a really good team and those guys are going to have a great season,” Prugh said. “But we played a good game today. I focused on throwing strikes, trusted all my pitches, and let our defense work. We’ve got a great defense.”
Both teams made only one error.
North had chances to score, but two double plays hurt.
The Cavaliers put runners at second and third against Prugh with one out in the sixth, and they loaded the bases against reliever Tanner Christy in the seventh.
But Carson always made the pitch or the play it needed to make to keep the shutout.
“We played a decent ballgame, except for a couple of crucial base-running mistakes (in the fourth and sixth),” Rimer said. “Carson is a good team, but it’s not like we’re happy that we lost a close game. We’re good enough that we’re not just trying to compete. We’re trying to win.”
In the seventh, North got hits from Robbie Monroe, Brandon White and Henderson Lentz to fill the bases with one out, but Christy got a ground ball from pinch-hitter McGuire Smith, and Carson second baseman Alex Shumaker calmly started a game-ending double play.
•••
NOTES: Christy is coming back from a tendon injury he suffered in football season. … Jake Pritchard had two hits for North and caught a towering popup off Bearden’s bat. … Carson hosts SPC rival East Rowan on Friday. Owen White is expected to pitch.

North Rowan 000 000 0 — 0 7 1
Carson 111 000 x — 3 12 1
W — Prugh (1-0). L — Gonzalez (0-1). S — Christy (1).

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