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Originally published: 2014-03-06 14:26:45
Last modified: 2014-03-06 15:51:11

Robertson silences Watauga's bats

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

WELCOME -- North Davidson pitcher Josh Robertson did not have his best stuff early in the Black Knight's game with Watauga Wednesday night.

It didn't seem to matter.

As the game went on, Robertson got better. That proved to be a big problem for Watauga, which managed just one hit off the crafty right-hander in a 7-0 loss at North Davidson's field.

Robertson, who signed to play baseball for UNC Wilmington next season, allowed just one hit -- an infield single to Steadman Sauls in the seventh inning. Hunter Isaacs, who walked to open the inning, reached third base on the play.

Robertson was not crushed that he did not get the no-hitter. Picking up the Black Knight's first victory of the season was more important.

"I'm just happy we won the game," he said. "My curveball was good tonight. I was able to get ahead with that a lot. Then I'd come back with the fastball. The slider was my out-pitch, so that was working well."

Isaacs was the only runner to get past second base the entire game for Watauga (2-1). Andy Critcher and Colby Illich received back-to-back walks in the third inning, which put Critcher on second base.

No other Pioneer got into scoring position. Robertson pitched out of that jam by getting an infield fly and two strikeouts to end the inning.

"He's an outstanding pitcher," Pioneers coach Pete Hardee said. "He's their No. 1 guy and a super kid. My hat is off to him today. Half the game, he was pitching kind of backwards. He'd throw his curveball when you'd think it would be a fastball count. He kept us off-balance. His curveball was breaking very well."

He was pulled after Sauls' single, which put his pitch count at 100. Robertson, who mixed off-speed pitches with his fastball to keep Watauga batters off-balance, struck out nine and walked four.

After walking Critcher and Illich, Robertson sent 12 straight Watauga batters to the bench. North Davidson (1-1), which started five sophomores and a freshman, also did not make any errors.

"He wasn't really sharp at first, but he found his breaking ball and was able to throw that for a strike until he found his fastball," North Davidson coach Mike Meadows said. "He was cruising and we had him on an 85 pitch count and he hasn't given up a hit. He wants to go back out and I'm fighting with it. It was a warmer day, so he had one more hitter who hit it up the middle. Nine times out of 10 we make that play, but he did a good job."

Watauga's defense was a different story. The Pioneers committed three errors and also struggled to field a bunt.

North Davidson's version of  "small ball," which included bunting the ball four times, set up a pair of home runs. Austin Beck, hitting eighth in the order, took a 0-1 fastball from Isaacs and belted it over the left-field fence in the second inning.

The blast scored three runs and gave the Black Knights a 4-0 lead.

North Davidson added couple of runs with a two-run home run by E.P. Reese. That hit put the Black Knights comfortably in front 7-0.

Watauga hit just two baseballs, both that were caught by North Davidson outfielders, in the game.

Watauga hosts A.C. Reynolds at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Pioneers' first home game of the season.

North Davidson 7, Watauga 0

Watauga          000 000 0 -- 0 1 4

North Davidson          040 300 X -- 7 9 0

Isaacs, Jones and Sauls. Robertson, Michael (7) and Morrow. W--Roberson, L--Isaacs. LOB--Watauga 5, North Davidson 4. 2B--North Davidson, Blake. HR--North Davidson, Beck, Reese. SH--Reese, Meadows, Beck, Michael.