03/15/12 — C.B. Aycock-North Lenoir baseball

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C.B. Aycock-North Lenoir baseball

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on March 15, 2012 1:48 PM

LaGRANGE -- Veteran North Lenoir head coach Jim Montague was not quite sure what to expect when he sent sophomore Landon Letchworth to the mound against Charles B. Aycock on Wednesday afternoon.

The expectations should definitely be higher the next time Letchworth takes the baseball. The left-hander tossed a complete-game shutout and the Hawks scored four first-inning runs in a 6-0 Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference victory.

North Lenoir (5-2 overall, 3-0 ECC) earned its third win over the Golden Falcons in the last four meetings and remained tied with Eastern Wayne for first place in the ECC.

"Landon Letchworth pitched one heck of a ballgame," Montague said. "It was his best varsity start he's had. Not only did he do a great job for himself, but he rested some arms. There are very few high school players I've coached that I'm confident they can go out there every game because they're still kids and they're still learning."

The Hawks sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning against Aycock starter Cameron Taylor. Chastin Radford got things started with a double to left-center field. Sammy West's double down the left-field line scored Radford to give North Lenoir a 1-0 lead.

West later scored on a Golden Falcons' error. Caleb Kearney and Addison Harper provided back-to-back RBI singles to increase the lead to 4-0.

"The first inning was the key," Aycock head coach Charles Davis said. "If we can scratch a run across in the first inning you never know. They swung the bats in the first inning, and we made an error and threw the ball around. They jumped on the board with four runs and it gave them a lot of confidence."

Letchworth took over from there.

Mixing his pitches to get ahead of hitters, Letchworth kept the Golden Falcons off balance all afternoon. He worked around a single in the first inning and an error in the second inning. Aycock stranded a runner at third base in both the third and fourth innings.

Letchworth surrendered just five hits, recorded eight strikeouts and most importantly, did not issue a walk.

"Our offense came up big in the first inning and that helped me relax a lot," Letchworth said. "My fastball was on point today and my curveball helped me out a little bit. I was able to throw my changeup for strikes which helped. I just wanted to get ahead and not fall behind that was the main thing."

The Hawks tacked on a run in the bottom of the fifth on Harper's RBI double. Mikal Batts added an RBI double in the home half of the sixth inning as the lead grew to 6-0. Kearney led North Lenoir with three hits. Harper (two RBI), West (RBI) and Radford each provided two hits.

Collin DuBose had two hits for the Golden Falcons. Taylor endured the loss on the mound.

The Hawks continue ECC play Friday at South Johnston, while Aycock (5-1, 2-1) travels to Cleveland.