Foard's Fullbright silences Watauga's baseball team
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
There are two reasons why Fred T. Foard is a contender for the Northwestern Conference baseball championship this season.
Their names are Jordan Fullbright and Austin Godfrey.
Fullbright and Godfrey are the Tigers' best pitchers. Their pitching is a huge reason why the Tigers are at the top of the NWC.
On Tuesday night, it was Fullbright who pitched Foard to a 4-0 victory over Watauga at Pioneers Field Tuesday night by striking out 13 Pioneers and allowing just four hits.
"It didn't seem like he was that fast, but the pitch came up on you pretty quick," Watauga's Carson Isaacs said. "He has a pretty good off-speed pitch, but we're not hitting the ball very well."
Foard (9-4, 8-1 NWC) picked up its first victory over
Watauga (6-7, 4-5) in Boone, and its first sweep of the Pioneers since the
Tigers joined the conference.
It's not the first time a Foard pitcher has shut out the Pioneers. Godfrey pitched Foard to a 5-0 win on a chilly night in Newton on March 14. Foard has allowed just eight runs in nine NWC games this season.
Fullbright did not dazzle the Pioneers with a 90 miles-per-hour fastball. Instead, the left-hander used excellent control to stay ahead in the count and force the Pioneers to hit quality pitches that were in the strike zone, but not necessarily right down the middle.
"He is dominant," Foard coach Channon Vogel said. "He's a senior and he's been working hard and he's unbelievable. Both our pitchers this year have been shut down pitchers."
Fullbright also had some help, particularly from left fielder Chase Wilson, who ran down and then dove for a Utah Jones fly ball in the sixth inning. Jones would have likely ended up on second base with a double, and Jesse Illich would have likely scored from first base had Wilson not made his spectacular catch.
Illich and Jones combined for three of the Pioneers' four hits. Illich singled in the third and the sixth innings, but never got past first base.
Jones doubled in the first inning, reached third on a Carson Isaacs fielder's choice, but was left stranded. Hunter Isaacs led off the seventh inning with a single, but Fullbright struck out the side to end the game.
"He's good. He hit his spots," Hunter Isaacs said. "He had a good defense behind him. We weren't swinging the ball well tonight. We couldn't get a lot of balls to drop, but he's an all-around good pitcher."
Foard also brought its bats to Pioneers Field. The Tigers belted out 16 hits, 15 of them being singles. Matt Ward's double drove in Fullbright, who reached base on an error, in the first inning.
But a relay that started with Illich in center field, which was caught by Isaacs at shortstop and thrown to catcher Steadman Sauls gunned down Ryan Campbell, who was trying to score from second.
Foard scored two more runs in the sixth inning on back-to-back RBI singles by Ward and Carson Bryant.
Bryant went 4-for-4, all singles, for the Tigers. Fullbright went 3-for-4 and scored two runs.
Jones scattered 13 of the hits and struck out six Tigers in 5 2/3 innings. Relief pitcher Jeffrey Gainey struck out two and allowed one hit in 1 1/3 innings.
Foard left 10 runners on base. Watauga got Jones out of a jam in the third inning by turning a pitcher-to-catcher-to-first-base double play, which ended the inning.
Fred T. Foard 4, Watauga 0
Foard 200 002 0 -- 2 16 0
Watauga 000 000 0 -- 0 4 2
Fullbright and Toy. Jones, Gainey and Sauls. LOB--Foard 10, Watauga 4. 2B--Foard, Ward; Watauga, Jones. SB--Foard, Fulbright, Campbell. DP--Watauga 1.