ECBL: Johnson throws complete game for Warriors
By Allen Etzler
Published in Sports on June 25, 2014 1:48 PM
When Eastern Wayne head coach Randall Fields walked to the mound in the sixth inning, pitcher Brock Johnson nearly walked off.
He thought his coach was coming to take him out of the game, but Fields just wanted to calm his pitcher down.
"I just went out there to check on him and he told me he wanted the ball to finish it," Fields said. "Anybody who has the confidence to say they want to finish the job I'm going to give them the opportunity."
Johnson got the job done, but in a unique way.
With runners on first and third and two outs, Johnson threw a wild pitch past catcher Braxton Lewis. Lewis retrieved the ball and flipped to the plate just in time for Johnson to tag out Southern Wayne's Cody Davis and preserve an eventual 6-4 win Tuesday evening.
Johnson pitched a much less eventful three-up, three-down seventh inning for a complete-game victory. He mixed in a big looping curveball to produce seven strikeouts.
"This was one of my best games I think," Johnson said. "I threw my offspeed for strikes for the most part and when I do that I throw a lot better."
The curveball was Johnson's most dangerous pitch, which he struggled to control at times in the game and nearly lost all faith in it after the third inning. But Johnson continued throwing curveballs until he found his release point in the next inning.
Offensively, Johnson drove in the go-ahead run and an insurance run with a two-RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the fifth. He finished with two hits and four RBI.
Southern Wayne Red lost its third game of the season, leaving head coach Jackson Massey neither pleased with the team's effort nor its focus.
"We showed up tonight physically," Massey said. "And that's about it."
Even though the Saints matched Eastern Wayne in hits with 10, they couldn't get the big hit in a pressure situation or make the big play when they needed it.
"Our guys do really well hitting with no pressure," Massey said. "But whenever there is pressure to get that big hit, our guys just aren't coming up with that hit."
The Saints committed three errors, which resulted in two unearned runs for the Warriors. On top of physical mistakes were a few mental errors that caught the young Southern Wayne team as well.
In the fourth inning Michael Wiggins hit a comebacker to the mound with Ryan Warren on third base. Warren charged home immediately. Saints pitcher Brandon Biggins saw Warren running toward home, but chose to throw to first instead and allowed the tying run to score.
"We don't have very much experience as a whole yet so it's a learning process," Massey said. "But we just weren't very focused today."
Southern Wayne plays C.B. Aycock Blue tonight in a make-up game, while Eastern Wayne hosts North Lenoir on Thursday.
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