Well, Ethan Greene picked up right where he left off last year. The Watauga High senior went five innings and limited A.C. Reynolds to one hit as the Pioneers opened the season with a commanding
10-0 win at J.T. Davis Field in Asheville. The game was called after five innings because of the ten-run mercy rule.
Greene, who only threw 41 pitches, gave up one hit (a bloop single by Nathan Blaylock to lead-off the second inning) and struck out four men.
"The thing I like about Greenie, he's going to throw strikes," said WHS coach Pete Hardee. "He throwing the ball to spots, and he's pitching with a lot of confidence. We really need him to be our ace this season."
And the Pioneers (1-0) gave Greene all the runs he needed by scoring five runs in the first inning without the benefit of a hit. Five walks, three passed balls, a wild pitch and an error handed WHS five unearned runs and 5-0 lead.
The Pioneers put it away with five more runs in the second inning. A two-run double by David Martin, a two-out, two-run single by Taylor Shuford and an RBI single by Clint Trivette highlighted the inning and gave WHS a 10-0 lead going into the bottom of the second inning.
Blaylock, who got the starting nod for ACR (0-1), struggled from the get-go and left the game after he yielded a lead-off walk to Greene to start the second inning. Blaylock, who was later robbed on a great running catch by center-fielder Matt Proffitt in the fourth inning, walked six men and gave up six runs in an inning of work.
But only one of those runs was earned. As a pitching staff, the Rockets yielded nine walks, and six of those came around to score.
"I was real impressed with the way we showed patience at the plate," Hardee said. "We didn't chase a lot of bad pitches. We took advantage of what we were given. Then we started swinging the bat a little bit. Overall, it was a good win, and a good way for us to start the season."
The Pioneers travel to Mount Tabor Thursday night. Tyler Jones, who had a double in two official at bats with a walk and two runs scored on Tuesday night, will get the starting nod against the Spartans. Our coverage begins at 6 p.m. on Oldies 100.7 FM.
NOTES: ACR defeated the WHS JV team 7-0 Tuesday night. The JV team only made four hits.....Pete Hardee's son, Dalton, is a first-base coach and a student teacher at ACR. He played college baseball at Mars Hill. "I'm real proud of Dalton," Hardee said. "He wants to stay in the game. And it's good for him to learn from someone else like Bryan (ACR coach Craig). He's been around me for years, so this will be good to give him a different perspective. I'm real proud of him."
TUESDAY NIGHT'S GAMES
WATAUGA 10, A.C. REYNOLDS 0 (5 INNINGS)
SOUTH CALDWELL 18, EAST BURKE 5
WILKES CENTRAL 8, HIBRITEN 1
PATTON 7, ALEXANDER CENTRAL 4
HICKORY d. STATEVILLE
WEDNESDAY NIGHT'S GAMES
NEWTON-CONOVER @ HICKORY
FRED T. FOARD @ BUNKER HILL
WEST LINCOLN @ HIBRITEN
ALEXANDER CENTRAL @ MOORESVILLE