Opinion - Pitching provides memorable moments
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 8, 2010 11:44 PM
Pitching -- from Little League to the Major Leagues -- its importance never wavers. The difference between winning and losing can oftentimes hang on one pitch or one at-bat.
The courage necessary to want the ball and to handle the pressure of those game-changing moments is difficult to teach and can be even harder to develop.
Several area high school pitchers have turned in outstanding efforts on the mound this season. The following is a look back at some of the area's more memorable pitching performances:
* Derek Limbaugh, Charles B. Aycock at Southern Wayne, Apr. 13: Limbaugh took a shutout into the seventh inning and earned the win on the mound in the Golden Falcons' 6-2, Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference victory.
The junior right-hander surrendered just one hit through the first five innings and at one point sat down 10 Saints in a row. Limbaugh allowed two earned runs on four hits with four strikeouts and one walk. He left with the bases loaded and nobody out in the home half of the seventh inning.
The win gave Aycock a 5-0 mark in the ECC through the first half of conference play.
* Duane Gurganus and Brian Chase, North Duplin at Spring Creek, Apr. 20: Gurganus threw 10 shutout innings, scattering six hits while striking out nine with no walks. He settled for a no-decision in the Gators' 1-0 win in 11 innings.
The Rebels' Chase hurled eight shutout innings, allowing three hits with five walks and six strikeouts. He also got a no-decision. Chase stranded a pair of Spring Creek runners in the second inning and worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth.
* Josh Frederick, Charles B. Aycock at Eastern Wayne, Apr. 23: Frederick tossed a complete-game, two-hit shutout in the Warriors' 1-0 win. The win created a tie between Eastern Wayne and Aycock for first place in the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference.
Frederick struck out nine and walked just two.
* Matt Neal, Rosewood at Spring Creek, Apr. 29: Neal turned in a gutty complete-game performance as the Eagles clinched a share of the Carolina 1-A Conference regular-season title with a 7-4 win.
The senior right-hander worked out trouble in both the fifth and seventh innings as the Gators brought the tying run to the plate in both innings. Spring Creek left eight runners on base, including five in the last three innings.
Neal surrendered four runs (three earned) on eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts on 120 pitches. He held Spring Creek scoreless over the final four innings.
* Will Broadwell, Southern Wayne at Charles B. Aycock, Apr. 30: Broadwell held the Golden Falcons to three hits and got plenty of help from his defense in a 5-2 victory.
Saints' right fielder Kevin Wise made a leaping catch at the wall in the home half of the sixth inning to bring back Jonathan Taylor's potential game-tying two-run, home run. Southern Wayne led 4-2 at that point.
Broadwell surrendered two runs (one earned) on three hits with four strikeouts and two walks. The win helped the Saints finish the regular season tied with South Johnston for third place in the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference.