The Watauga High baseball team pulled into sole possession of first place on Friday night by knocking off South Caldwell 4-1 in a Northwestern 4A Conference game down in Sawmills.
The Pioneers also swept the season series against the Spartans. It was their first series sweep since 2004.
WHS (9-3 overall; 6-1 NW4A) wasted little time taking jumping on top as Baine Martin opened the game with a lead-off home run (his first of the year) against losing pitcher Cody Poarch. The Pioneers also took advantage of three South Caldwell (8-2; 5-2) errors to build a 4-0 lead through the first two innings. And the Spartans, a sure-handed fundamental team, made eight errors against the Pioneers in two games.
Poarch, who began the year with four straight wins and allowed two earned runs during that stretch, suffered his first loss of the year. On the other hand, Jon Shape, who threw four-plus innings in relief on Monday against Alexander Central, had a no-hitter through 3 2/3 innings.
But Sharpe ran into control problems in the fourth and fifth innings as he walked four men. But he escaped any serious damage as he only allowed one run. Pinch-hitter Travis Cook’s run-scoring single spoiled the shutout. In turn, the Spartans left five men on base, three in scoring position during that stretch. Sharpe, who improved to 4-1, scattered two hits, and he finished with nine strike outs, but he walked eight.
Martin paced the offense with a home run, a triple, two runs scored and two runs-batted-in. Cal Hardee had a run-scoring single and scored a run; Trey Lowder, who played despite a sore neck and wrist, drove in a run, and Jake Wallace, who got the start at third base, singled and scored a run.
WHS only made five hits, and Poarch, who got off to a rough start, finished with 11 strike outs. He finished strong, retiring 14 of the last 15 batters he faced.
Now, Saturday’s game with T.C. Roberson was postponed and will be made up at a later date. The Pioneers are scheduled to play Freedom on Tuesday at home. But snow is in the forecast. If they play, our coverage begins at 6:05 pm on 100.7, MAC-FM.