South Caldwell blanks Watauga baseball 6-0
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
SAWMILLS -- South Caldwell's baseball team does not have the overpowering batters it had when the Spartans won a state championship in 2007.
That doesn't mean the Spartans can't score runs when given the chance. Watauga gave them just enough chances to score six runs in a 6-0 victory over the visiting Pioneers on a near-perfect Tuesday night.
South Caldwell scored two unearned runs in the third inning, and then added four runs in the sixth with help of two hit batsman and a walk.
Watauga (4-6, 2-4 Northwestern Conference) lost its fourth straight. The Pioneers have also lost five of their last six games.
"It's always a tough win," South Caldwell coach Jeff Parham said. "Watauga is always a tough team and they are always well-coached. Coach (Pete) Hardee does a tremendous job and you know what you're going to face every time that he brings a team. They're going to fight you and they're going to be well-coached."
South Caldwell (10-2, 4-2) needed just one run since sophomore pitcher Rian Haire tossed a shutout in the 6 1/3 innings he pitched. Haire had to leave the game after complaining of pain in his left collarbone area.
But before he left, the lefty scattered five hits and struck out eight, walked just one, and benefitted from a double play that closed out the Watauga fifth inning.
Haire struggled against just one batter -- Watauga pitcher Utah Jones -- who roped two doubles Tuesday night. Jones' first double hugged the third-base line, and was followed by a single from Carson Isaacs that left runners on first and third with one out in the first inning.
But Haire set the next two Watauga batters down to end the threat.
"I was proud of Rian tonight," Parham said. "He did a great job on the mound. We got some timely hits when we needed them."
Jones also doubled with one out in the sixth inning, stole third base, but was left stranded.
Haire was injured while pitching to Justin Greer in the seventh inning. After reaching a 3-2 count on Greer, Haire was pulled in favor of Jacob Raby, who walked Greer.
Raby got the next two Watauga batters to finish the game.
Watauga finished with five hits. Isaacs went 2-for-3 with two singles, and Steadman Sauls also had an infield single for the Pioneers.
South Caldwell scored its first run in the third inning after Tanner Parham reached base on an error. Brock Johnson doubled him to third with two outs, and both runners scored on a Taylor Purus single.
Jones ran into trouble in the sixth inning by hitting the first two batters he faced, and then giving up an RBI single to Haire. Johnson delivered the knockout punch with a three-run double, which chased Jones from the mound.
Johnson went 3-for-4 with two doubles. Jones allowed just six hits overall.
Relief pitcher Matt Lambert threw one pitch to Purus, who grounded out to end the inning.
Watauga hosts Hickory today and plays at St. Stephens on Friday. Watauga also hosts North Davidson in a nonconference game Saturday.