Prep Baseball: Eagles motivated for happier ending

Apr. 03, 2013 @ 10:56 AM

The date May 22, 2012, serves a constant reminder as to what could have been last season for East Davidson baseball. It also serves as motivation to what could be ahead this coming May.
Expectations are at an all-time high for a team that made a deep run in the 2-A state playoffs, reaching the fourth round before weather cut the season short. The Golden Eagles returned nearly their entire team, adding some very talented players from the junior varsity squad. While the heartache of one year ago still lingers, veteran coach Dan Tricarico sees his young men using that painful experience as motivation to make a return to the round where dreams were dashed by the flash of lightning.
“That has been something that has sat with everybody since last May and June,” he said. “It was a tough situation, and I think it is motivation for the guys in wanting to do well. We felt like that was a game we could win. As a coach every so often you bring it up in terms of saying that in order to get back to where we are, it takes a lot of hard work and doing things the right way.”
So far in 2013, the Eagles are handling the pressure well. They are 11-2, losing only to Wheatmore and Southern Guilford. In Central Carolina Conference play, EDHS has yet to be challenged, sweeping Lexington and Thomasville. Tougher days are coming soon. Remaining on the conference slate are Central Davidson, Salisbury and West Davidson. The Green Dragons and Hornets sit one game back, while the Spartans are 2-2.
“We are going to get in the meat of things here and it comes down to these last three weeks that will determine the conference champion,” said Tricarico. “We have our work cut out for us.”
Championship teams are built on strong pitching and a sound offense. The Eagles thrive in both aspects.
Batting a robust .309, East has seven different guys batting above the .300 mark. Trevor Jones leads the team with a .486 average, while Nathan Campbell has a team-leading 15 RBIs and Avery Bowles has two home runs. East puts up 7.5 runs per game and has successfully swiped 13 bases in 14 attempts.
On the bump, the Eagles have a deep pitching staff that has an ERA of 1.49. Bowles is the ace, posting a 4-1 mark with a 1.78 average. Braxton Shetley remains the No. 2 pitcher with an ERA of 0.54 and 2-1 record, but No. 3 hurler Ryan McIntire is making a push to be in that slot with his 3-0 record. The sophomore has also not given up a run in his 15 innings pitched. Tyler Rhodes and Nick Williams add depth out of the bullpen.
“It makes it a lot easier to coach when you have a deep pitching staff,”  said Tricarico. “If you have the pitching, it is going to keep you in games. We feel like we can go to a lot of different people, depending on a situation. That has certainly been nice.”
East welcomes Ledford on Friday before next Tuesday’s game with Central.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or kepley@tvilletimes.com.