Faith Christian defeats Berean Baptist
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 27, 2012 1:49 PM
Score all you can early.
It's a simple philosophy the Faith Christian baseball team has followed this season, and it's been quite effective. The Conquerors plated 10 runs during the first two innings and rolled to a 14-4, mercy-rule triumph over Berean Baptist Academy on a breezy, sunny Monday afternoon.
The Conquerors (8-1 overall) remained unbeaten in five N.C. Christian Schools Association Coastal 2-A outings this season, and beat an opponent by the 10-run rule for the sixth time overall.
"I told the guys at the beginning of the season that pitching probably wasn't going to be our strong spot. We do have Michael (Clarke), but we have some inexperienced throwers after that," first-year Faith head coach Justin Smith said. "So, I tell my guys each game that we have to jump on them early and be aggressive on the base paths. If we can get runners on base, we can usually get them around pretty quick."
Faith Christian pounded out nine hits against Berean left-hander Jason Stubbs and reliever Matt Jackson. The Bulldogs also obliged with seven defensive bobbles that led to nine unearned runs in the 1-hour, 36-minute affair.
Berean (1-2, 1-2) seized a 1-0 lead during its first at-bat.
Stubbs singled to left field and moved into scoring position on Jackson's base knock. The duo combined for the Bulldogs' three hits on the afternoon. Faith catcher Silas Denlinger attempted to pick Jackson off at first base after a strikeout and the ball sailed into right field.
Stubbs trotted home on the play.
"That was unusual for Silas ... his first error of the year," Smith said.
The Conquerors answered with four first-inning runs. Wes Caudle drove in two of his game-high four RBI with a backside single to right field. Clarke scored on a passed ball and Connor Anderson plated Caudle with a triple to left field.
Matt Welch's two-RBI, backside single to right and Anderson's RBI bases-loaded walk highlighted a six-run, second-inning uprising. The Bulldogs committed three miscues during the inning and Stubbs uncorked two run-scoring wild pitches.
Six of nine Faith starters provided at least one hit on the day. Lead-off batter Brandon Jones went 3-for-3 and reached base during all four plate appearances. Trent Wise singled and Clarke doubled.
"We're hitting the ball better, but I know there were some errors by their team," said Smith, whose team led 14-1 after four innings.
Clarke emerged the winning pitcher. The senior right-hander retired seven of the final nine batters he faced and benefited from a second-inning double play. He struck out six in three innings.
Caudle threw two innings of four-strikeout, one-hit relief.
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