Tigers work by Dragons
Fri. March 15, 2013 at 10:59 p.m. | By Jason Queen
TYRO | West Davidson baseball coach Jerry Walser got to see a team do everything he appreciates on the diamond Friday night.
Unfortunately, it was the other team.
Defending 2-A state champion Randleman scored three runs in the top of the first inning and played seven nearly flawless innings en route to a 9-2 nonconference victory at Feezor Field. The Tigers banged out 15 hits, laid down two perfect sacrifice bunts and added two sacrifice flies to show offensive versatility that was too much for West to match.
Walser was clearly impressed, pointing to a circle he had drawn in the infield dirt during his postgame meeting with his squad.
“There are six or seven 2-A baseball teams in North Carolina that can win the state championship any year, and they’re one of them,” he said. “I tried to explain that to the kids; inside that circle’s the teams that can win it.
“And West Davidson’s that ‘X,’ we’re just on the outside. Now, we used to not be anywhere close to that circle.”
Randleman coach Shawn Barker couldn’t find anything to complain about as the Tigers improved to 5-1 and three different pitchers combined on a three-hitter. “It was great to see, because our last four games we haven’t hit,” he said. “We’ve been preaching to have a good approach, getting the pitches they liked.
“And that finally clicked with them tonight.”
It clicked instantly. Tyler Walls led off with a single up the middle, then West starter Zach Queen plunked Easton Welch and walked Cody Millikan. Cody Trogdon lofted a sacrifice fly into right field to drive in Walls, Trevor Clemons grounded out to short to drive in another run, and Caleb Webster sent a soft liner over second baseman Matt Berrier’s head to plate Millikan. Just like that, the Tigers led 3-0.
Randleman kept the pressure coming in the top of the second. Logan Hussey led things off with a base hit into left field, and Walls singled right behind him. Welch bunted both runners over, and Millikan’s fly ball to center was deep enough to allow Hussey to score. West could have potentially gained some momentum on that play, as Justin Smith’s throw to catcher Graham Shoaf was perfect trying to gun Hussey down at the plate. But the ball got to Shoaf the same time Hussey did and popped loose. Trogdon tacked on an RBI single moments later, and Randleman had a comfortable 5-0 cushion.
Walls and Guage Gantt put the clamps down on the Dragons in the final two innings, limiting West to one hit the rest of the way.
The Tigers got two more runs in the fifth, in what Walser acknowledged was a beautiful display of small-ball. Caleb Webster led off the inning with a single, then Dakota Shaw walked. Gantt bunted them over, then Hussey drove in one run with a groundout to first base. Walls then delivered a sharp single to the right side, putting the Tigers up 7-0.
That was more than enough with Millikan on the mound. He had a no-hitter through four, before West scratched across a pair of runs in the fifth. Justin Smith ignited the rally with an infield single, then moved up two bases on a wild pitch. Kyle Smith walked one out later and moved to second on defensive indifference, then Berrier laced a base hit up the middle to score both runs.
Hussey and Walls finished off the barrage with a pair of RBI singles in the top of the seventh. Walls finished 4-for-5, Webster and Hussey had three hits each, and Trogdon was 2-for-3. Of Randleman’s 15 hits, 13 were singles.
Queen took the loss for West, which dipped to 4-1. Berrier was 2-for-4 for the Dragons, who play Oak Level at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Jason Queen can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.