Prep Baseball: Ledford offense sputters in loss to Southern Guilford
Chris Adams expected his Ledford baseball team to be in a low-scoring battle with Mid-Piedmont Conference opponent Southern Guilford. Through four innings on Thursday it was just that. Then the Storm battered the Panthers on Gary Hinkle Field.
Four runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth gave Southern Guilford a comfortable margin that they turned into a 10-1 win. Ledford had just one hit in falling to 4-1 on the season. The Storm remain perfect at 5-0.
“That is a pitiful showing,” said a very disappointed Adams afterward. “It was just not the way we want to look. They are a good baseball team, but we did not do anything to help ourselves out. We are better than that.”
Scoreless in the bottom of the second, the Panthers made the first noise of the day when Michael Horrell walked and Jonathan Turner was struck by a Ryan Hedrick offering. Adam White rolled a grounder to short for the second out, but in doing so moved Horrell up to third. Stepping in was pitcher Bubba White, who surprised everyone by dropping down a bunt for a hit to score the run and put LHS ahead 1-0.
It turned out to be the only hit of the day for the Panthers, who were thrown off all afternoon by Hedrick. The right-hander for the Storm went six strong innings, striking out 11 along the way.
“Our one hit happened to be a bunt for a hit which is how we want to go back and play,” said Adams, referring to his small-ball approach. “We just did not do a good job of changing our approach to make things happen. We were striking out too much. If we are going to have a chance to compete against good quality pitching, we have got to find a way to help ourselves.”
The Storm began to help themselves out next inning. Three straight hits including a pair of doubles plated two runs to send the Storm ahead 2-1.
White kept the guests off the board in the fourth, but things heated up in the fifth as the ball began leaving the yard. Pinch-hitter Dustin Shackelford made the most of his plate appearance. The first pitch he saw was rocketed over the fence in left. Four batters later, teammate Evan Edwards left the park with a three-run shot to extend the lead out to 6-1.
The offense rolled on in the sixth for the Storm. Three more runs were plated in the frame, then Ryan Caveness added a third home run in the seventh.
Ledford had made a solid threat in the fifth, but once again a lack of timely hitting kept them from making a dent in the deficit.
“We have been hitting, but the quality of pitching today was better than anything we have seen,” said Adams. “When you get deep into the season into big games, you are going to see pitching like that. We have got to figure out ways to compete and battle in those games.”
Noah Carter, Austin Kallam, Caveness and Taylor Sugg all had two hits for the Storm.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.