Prep Baseball: Free passes cost Bulldogs dearly
Thomasville played Salisbury fairly even when the ball traveled across the plate Wednesday at Finch Field. It was the plethora of free passes that made a significant difference.
Allowing 17 batters to reach base via a walk or hit batsman, the Bulldogs watched one Hornet run after another go up on the board in a 22-2 thumping in three innings.
A recurring theme on the diamond this season as well as year's past at THS, inconsistent pitching has plagued the Bulldogs. First-year head coach David House is searching his entire roster for a remedy but has not come up with a solution.
“I have no answer for that,” said House of the 17 gifts his pitching staff gave to SHS. “It is all about mental toughness and tonight we did not show it. I think we gave up a little bit when things did not go our way. I just challenged their manhood right there in our meeting after the game. We will see how many show up for practice tomorrow.”
Seizing momentum in the first inning is something the Bulldogs have struggled to do. Just when it looked as if they might actually start a game without yielding runs, the mental mistakes began to snowball.
With the bases loaded and two outs, two hit batsmen and a walk allowed the Hornets to put up three runs despite only having one hit the entire inning.
Thomasville sought to get at least some of it back in their first trip to the plate. An error and two walks with one out loaded the bases for the middle part of the order. Harrison Smith put himself in the difficult position but was able to work his way out. The Salisbury pitcher struck out the next two batters to end the threat.
In the second, the free passes continued and the lead swelled for the guests across the river in Rowan County. Salisbury scored nine times, sending 13 to the plate after having nine bat in the first.
A solo run by the Bulldogs in the bottom of the inning made it 12-1, but the Hornets tacked on 10 more in the third to bring the 15-run mercy rule into effect.
Skylar Barnes had an RBI single for Thomasville, but it left them 20 off the pace and out of time with the run rule being enforced.
“It is all about effort and I do not see a lot of it right now in some of our guys,” House said. “They give up and quit and that is something we have to try and get over. I knew when I took this position it would not be an easy fix. It is going to be a long process and hopefully these guys will stick with us and stick with me and battle.”
Thomasville falls to 0-5 in the CCC and the Hornets are now 2-3.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.