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Originally published: 2014-02-28 14:20:39
Last modified: 2014-02-28 14:21:24

WHS baseball team wins season opener

by Staff Reports

ASHEVILLE -- Watauga's baseball team went into its 2014 season opener at A.C. Reynolds will several question marks.

Hunter Isaacs answered one of those questions, at least for the first game of the season. Isaacs was not perfect on the mound in Watauga's 8-6 victory over A.C. Reynolds Thursday at Davis Field.

But he kept the Pioneers competitive by pitching 4 1/3 innings on a chilly afternoon. Isaacs gave up five earned runs on six hits. He walked three and struck out three.

Jeffrey Gainey took it from there by throwing 1 1/3 of scoreless relief to pick up the save. It was the first time Gainey had pitched on the varsity level, which means he also picked up his first varsity save.

The duo had some help. Watauga center fielder Jesse Illich made a critical over-the-shoulder catch on a line drive with a runner on base in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the win.

Watauga's defense did not make an error all game.

Watauga's offense gave its pitching staff a 7-3 lead by the bottom of the fifth inning. Watauga scored four runs in the top of the second inning -- two of them coming on a two-run double by Illich -- to give the Pioneers a 4-1 lead.

Watauga led 4-3 in the top of the fourth inning when the Pioneers scored on an error, and again on an RBI single by Illich.

Watauga, which had a three-game losing streak at Davis Field, plays at former Northwestern Conference rival Alexander Central Saturday at 2 p.m.