Prep Baseball: East captures CCC regular season championship
Dan Tricarico has seen some fantastic baseball games during his coaching tenure at East Davidson High School. The one he witnessed Tuesday across the river in Salisbury may be the best yet.
Of course wrapping up a regular season Central Carolina Conference championship made it that much better.
The Golden Eagles scratched for a run in the 10th inning, good enough to give them a razor-thin 2-1 victory. Along with it came the title of CCC champions.
Braxton Shetley and Brian Bauk put on a pitching display for the ages for those on hand. Bauk went nine innings for the Hornets striking out 13, while Shetley tossed eight innings with the same amount of strikeouts. Unfortunately, neither was in line for the win. Instead, Nick Williams picked up the victory in two scoreless innings. There were only six hits in the game.
“One of the better high school baseball games that I have been involved with,” said Tricarico. “There was some phenomenal pitching. Bauk had not pitched for a couple months and comes out to throw nine innings. Braxton matches him in eight innings and Nick did great for us closing it out. It was a tense game and just phenomenal all the way around.”
Tied at 1-1 in the 10th, reliever Riley Myers walked leadoff man Ryan McIntire. Courtesy runner Kelvin Pena took second on a wild pitch, and was sacrificed 90 feet closer on an Avery Bowles bunt. With neither team getting much room to operate, Tricarico took a risk and it paid off. Josh Craven lifted a shallow fly ball to right field. Pena retreated to third base and tagged up as the catch was made. The throw beat Pena to the plate, but was well high of the catcher, allowing the run to score. Williams finished off the Hornets in the 10th.
“Josh hits that sacrifice fly to right field and it was not real deep,” Tricarico said. “We are just taking a chance because you do not know how many more you are going to get. We were able to score there and Nick shut them down.”
Tricarico preaches execution every single day. The team that executes best is going to win. The bunt Bowles got down was just as important to the skipper as was the final play.
“By executing it put us in a position to win the game,” said Tricarico. “A lot of times it is lost in stories about the guy that makes the small play. Avery executed and got his job done.”
East (17-3) has a perfect record in the CCC and more importantly, has wrapped up the top seed out of the league for the 2-A state playoffs. It is a completely different scenario compared to last season when the Eagles were limping into the conference tournament. Next week when others are battling it out for playoff seeding, EDHS can relax and enjoy it. But Tricarico does not want them to become too relaxed with the playoffs looming.
“It can be a double-edged sword, because as a coach you want your team to be playing its best ball when you start the state playoffs. But it is nice to be able and relax a little bit and not feel like you have to win. It is a big contrast from last year when we were struggling towards the end of the season. We are hopeful we can have a good conference tournament and be playing our best baseball.”
The semifinals for the CCC tournament will be Tuesday at West Davidson, while the finals will be held Thursday in Tyro.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.