Foard pitcher blanks Watauga
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
NEWTON -- The first batter to face Fred T. Foard pitcher Austin Godfrey was Jesse Illich, who drove a fly ball deep to center field. It was caught for the first out of the Northwestern Conference showdown.
It would be one of the few times Godfrey was hit hard the entire game.
The crafty junior gave up two hits, both by the third inning, in Foard's 5-0 victory over visiting Watauga on a windy and chilly Friday night. Foard beat Watauga for the second time in as many years after losing the first seven games to the Pioneers.
"He had some amazing stuff," Foard coach Channon Vogel said. "The ball was moving. He was throwing strikes and pitching to contact. He didn't go deep into the count until late in the game when he was getting a little tired. It's probably the best I've seen him pitch."
It's the second time in three games that Watauga (3-2, 1-1 NWC) has been shut out. The Pioneers played at Providence today, but results were not available by presstime.
Godfrey walked just two runners on base in the final four innings of the game. He struck out eight Pioneers during that stretch, and 10 batters overall by working his curveball with his high fastball, which he used to strike out several Pioneers.
"We swung at a lot of bad pitches and helped him out a lot, but he threw a good game," Pioneers coach Pete Hardee said. "Hats off to him. We had poor preparation for the game to be honest. We weren't ready to play."
Both of those runners who walked -- Carson Isaacs in the fourth inning and Utah Jones in the sixth -- reached third base, but were left stranded. It was Godfrey's first complete game shutout of his varsity career.
"I felt stronger throughout the game," Godfrey said. "I was just feeling it."
Hunter Isaacs led off the second inning with a double, reached third base, but did not score. Illich singled in the third inning, but did not get past first base.
Watauga's relief pitcher Jeffrey Gainey proved to be equal to the task of keeping Foard's offense silent. Gainey, who pitched to one batter in the first inning, tossed a shut out the rest of the game.
Gainey struck out five Tigers and allowed just three hits. His location, particularly with his breaking ball, kept the Foard batters off-balance.
"He threw a great game," Hardee said. "If we had started him, maybe we'd still be playing. He just pumped the strike zone and that's what you have to do as a pitcher."
Foard's offense provided Godfrey all the run scoring he would need by scoring five runs in the first inning. Illich, who was Watauga's starting pitcher, allowed five hits, although two were of the infield variety.
Chase Wilson delivered a two-out, two run double to give the Tigers a 5-0 advantage. Gainey came on in relief the next batter and got the Pioneers out of the inning.
After facing Providence, Watauga returns to its NWC schedule to play at Freedom on Tuesday. The Pioneers return for a three-game Friday to face Hibriten.
Fred T. Foard 5, Watauga 0
Watauga 000 000 0 -- 0 2 0
Foard 500 000 X -- 5 8 1
J. Illich, Gainey (1) and Sauls. Godfrey and Toy. W--Godfrey, L--J. Illich. LOB--Watauga 4, Foard 6. 2B--Watauga, H. Isaacs; Foard, Wilson. SB--Watauga, Jones.