03/25/05 — Golden Falcons record third straight shutout

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Golden Falcons record third straight shutout

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 25, 2005 2:02 PM

PIKEVILLE -- "You got another inning left in you?"

"Yes, sir," replied a quiet, confident Garrett Davis.

"You want it?"

"Yes, sir," Davis answered and stretched while Charles B. Aycock head coach Charles Davis patted him on the behind.

Although the overall performance might not have measured up to Garrett Davis' usual standards, he got the job done despite pressure-packed moments. The sophomore right-hander hurled a complete-game, two-hit shutout in a 4-0 conquest of state-ranked West Carteret on Thursday afternoon.

C.B. Aycock (5-3, 4-1) seized its third consecutive shutout after a road loss March 15 at county rival Southern Wayne. West Carteret (3-3), the reigning Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference champion, exited with a 2-2 league worksheet.

"Three consecutive conference shutouts by three different pitchers ... all complete games," coach Davis said. "I'm pretty happy."

The younger Davis' performance occurred on the heels of two sterling efforts by senior Adam Williams and sophomore Grant Sasser. Williams fired a two-hitter and notched 10 strikeouts at Kinston. Sasser handcuffed West Craven with a three-hit, nine-strikeout outing.

Davis, in his second start, fanned seven Patriots and retired seven straight batters before issuing a lead-off single in the seventh. The trio of pitchers, in 21 innings, has allowed just five hits to go along with 26 strikeouts.

"I think I hit my spots real well," Davis said. "I jammed them inside, threw curveballs outside slow and away. I had them off balance all night long. (Coach Davis) called pitches because he knew what would work and what I could get them out with."

West Carteret, ranked No. 2 by ImpactBaseball.com, had just four baserunners and one hit through six innings. However, they victimized themselves with mistakes and got caught twice in rundown situations.

Aycock didn't fare much better. The Golden Falcons stranded six runners in the first three innings combined and batted 0-for-2 with men in scoring position.

They finally broke through in the fourth. Thomas Pilkington ripped a lead-off double to center field and scored two outs later on Will Spence's two-strike single up the middle.

"I'm not happy that we left that many runners on base," said coach Davis, whose team stranded 10 runners overall. "That's the thing about a young club with not a lot of varsity experience. Once they get into the swing of things, we'll be fine."

The Golden Falcons, 3-1 at home this season, erupted for three runs in the sixth against Patriot reliever Drew Poulk. Pilkington, who concluded the day 3-for-3, connected on his second double -- a hard-hit shot down the left-field line.

With pinch-hitter Alex Raper at the plate, coach Davis called for the bunt twice and Raper failed to execute. Instead of calling for another bunt, Davis gave Raper the green light and hoped he'd make something happen.

Raper slapped a 3-2 fastball up the middle and Pilkington scored for a 2-0 advantage. Aycock added two more runs on a wild pitch and three-base throwing error.

"Alex had actually started the last two games and had some pretty good at-bats," Davis said. "I felt confident he was going to see a fastball in that situation, and he did.

"Sometimes you go with your instincts."

While the Golden Falcons enjoyed their late-game surge, Garrett Davis waited to finish off the Patriots. He faced the heart of the order -- Chisenhall, Poulk and Clayton Pittman -- when he returned to the mound.

Chisenhall singled.

Davis hit Poulk.

Clayton Pittman drew a walk.

"My arm was kind of frozen up there because I had waited so long in the dugout," Davis said. "I was so excited, I was trying to blow it past everybody. I just needed to calm down and throw strikes.

"I believed in my teammates and knew they'd make the plays behind me."

First baseman Travis Bartlett did.

The Patriots' Brandon Johnson popped up in foul territory and Bartlett back-tracked to the ball. He caught it, turned around and gunned down Chisenhall at the plate for the rally-killing double play.

"A real big play," a grinning Davis said. "He doesn't make that play with the bases loaded, it would have been a different ball game. That got us out of a big jam."

Davis walked Jon Nause to load the bases again, but then induced a game-ending groundout from Josh Corbett. Bartlett gobbled up the grounder and touched the bag for his 10th -- and final -- putout of the game.

Notes: Seven of Aycock's nine starters against the Patriots were underclassmen, including four sophomores ... Pilkington quarterbacked the JV football team, which finished 9-1 and captured the ECC title. ... Aycock's all-time, regular-season record against ECC opposition is 35-14. ... The Patriots are 1-2 against Wayne County teams this season.