Caldwell splits with Asheville
Caldwell County Post 29 split with Asheville Post 70, dropping game one by a score of 6-2, while claiming a 7-6 victory in game two on Thursday in Granite Falls.
“We know we came out flat in the first game and for a good part of the second game,” said Caldwell head coach Brandon Banks. “I take all the blame for that. I need to do a better job of getting them prepared and ready to play a baseball game.”
In game one, Asheville took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Nathan Blaylock hit a two-run home run to left field. Christian Jewkes scored on the play after previously reaching on a walk.
Post 29 cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the second. Grayam Austin led off with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Zac Walker. Austin then advanced to third on a wild pitch before Colton Henthorne hit an RBI double to left center. Henthorne was later picked off at third.
Caldwell tied the game in the fifth. Trevor Beane hit a leadoff double and later scored on an RBI single by John Austin.
The 29ers threatened again in the sixth but left another runner stranded in scoring position. Post 29 stranded seven runners in the game, four of which were in scoring position.
Asheville score two, unearned runs in the top of the sixth and added another two insurance runs in the seventh.
Caldwell starting pitcher Michael Davis suffered the loss, but pitched a great game. He struck out 11 batters, including a stretch of eight nine straight.
“The good thing from that game is Michael Davis pitched a great game,” Banks said. He certainly pitched well enough to win. We just didn’t make the plays behind him and didn’t give him any run support due to poor base running.”
In game two, Asheville took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on an RBI fielder’s choice by Jeff Hutchins, scoring Jewkes.
Caldwell tied the game in the bottom of the third. Henthorne hit a one-out double and scored on an RBI single by Nick Horning.
Post 70 took control of the game in the fourth inning, sending nine batters to the plate with five of them scoring. Blaylock and Hutchins each hit RBI singles, while Dylan Williams picked up an RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Jacob Cagle then hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Hutchins. An error on the play also allowed Kasey Williams to score to make the score 6-1 in favor of Asheville.
The 29ers got one run back in the bottom of the fourth. Taylor Purus was hit by a pitch and Phillip Page walked to put runners on first and second. Madison Cook followed with an RBI single to score Purus.
In the bottom of the sixth, Caldwell got a rally started with plenty of help from the Asheville pitchers. Post 29 scored two runs without putting a ball in play. Henthorne and Grayam Austin each earned RBI walks, scoring Purus and Page respectively. Purus previously walked and Page was hit by a pitch. Horning then hit a three-run double to center to give the 29ers the 7-6 victory. Cook, Henthorne and Austin all scored on the play. Cook had also reached on a walk.
Asheville did not threaten in the top of the seventh. Drew Bolick came on in relief to earn the save. Nick Horning earned the win for Post 29. He threw three innings of relief, giving up no runs and just two hits.
“This is a resilient team. They know how to fight,” Banks said. “We came up with some big hits when we needed to and we cut out the mistakes we made in the first game.”
Caldwell returns to action on Saturday when it hosts Shelby Post 82 at 7 p.m.
Asheville - 020-002-2 - 6-6-2
Caldwell - 010-010-0 - 2-6-1
Asheville - 010-500-0 - 6-9-0
Caldwell - 001-105-x - 7-6-1