It was the perfect remedy for an ailing team. The Watauga High baseball team, coming off its fourth shutout loss of the season Tuesday night, bounced back in a big way on Wednesday against Ashe County.
The Pioneers (7-8), who were held to four hits in Tuesday night's loss against Fred T. Foard, pounded out ten hits against the Huskies in an 11-0 win at Pioneers Field. The game was stopped in the top of the fifth inning because of the ten-run mercy rule.
"I'm proud of the way we responded tonight," said WHS coach Pete Hardee. "We were aggressive from the start. We turned up the pressure on them defensively. It was good to see us bounce back. We just did a poor job against a first-place team last night. This team has a tendency to lose focus. Our game preparation isn't very good at times. We just weren't ready to play last night. Tonight, we were."
Winning pitcher Hunter Isaacs (3-1) tossed a one-hit shutout as he went the distance. Carter Calhoun broke up his no-hitter with a lead-off single in the third. Isaacs struck out three and hit a batter.
"I didn't know that (about the one hitter)," Isaacs said. "I was just focusing on the hitters and trying to stay ahead. But to give up one hit, and just hit one batter, I'll take it. Offensively, we got off to a slow start tonight. We saw a lot of slow stuff early. It was just a matter of catching up."
"Hunter did a good job attacking the hitters," Hardee said. "But he's still not pitching downhill. He's still not getting his front leg over on his delivery. He has a ways to go, but it was a good start tonight. And this is a huge confidence booster going into Friday's game with Freedom (a Northwestern 3A-4A Conference game)."
It was WHS' second complete game of the season (Matt Lambert has the other one).
The Pioneers broke the game open as they scored four times in the second inning. Utah Jones continued his torrid pace with a three-run double that snapped a scoreless tie. Jones was 2-3 on the night with a double, a triple and four RBI.
Hunter Isaacs also helped himself with a double and two RBI. The PIoneers also took advantage of six Ashe County (5-6) errors. WHS scored four runs in the fourth to put the contest away.
"We didn't make any plays in the field tonight," said Ashe Count coach Ronnie Pruitt. "And it looked like we were intimidated. We put the ball in play tonight. It's not like we struck out a lot. But we made way too many errors to win the game. That's why we lost, 11-0."
A pair of errors in the second inning led to four runs; three more errors fueled WHS' four-run rally in the fourth. Dalton Lyles (0-1), making his first varsity start, suffered the loss. He last three innings and gave up 11 runs, but only three were earned.
"They shouldn't have scored four times in the fourth," Pruitt said. "We're not a team that backs down. But tonight, I really thought we gave up."
The Pioneers wrap up the three-game homestand Friday against Freedom. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. on Classic Hits 100.7 FM and GoBlueridge.net.
NOTES: The WHS junior varsity team defeated Ashe County, 11-6.....Matt Lambert was scheduled to get the starting nod on Friday against the Patriots, but his grandfather passed away Thursday night and he will not be available to the team for the rest of this week. Jeffrey Gainey will get the starting nod, instead.
Watauga 11, Ashe County 0
Hibriten 7, St. Stephens 4
Hickory 3, Freedom 2
South Caldwell 8, Patton 1
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL STANDINGS
Fred T. Foard 8-1 9-4
S. Caldwell (4A) 7-2 12-2
Patton 6-3 10-5
Hibriten 5-4 7-7
Watauga (4A) 4-5 7-8
Hickory 4-5 6-7
St. Stephens 2-7 3-9
Freedom 0-9 4-10