Jon Cagle shut down a red-hot offense as Mount Airy beat Walkertown 7-1 Friday.
Coach Jon Cawley said he looked up Walkertown’s stats online. In their 10-2 start, the Wolfpack scored 116 runs in 12 games, an average of nearly 10 runs an outing.
“Ten runs a game, that’s absurd,” said Cawley. “I don’t know of another team anywhere that’s done that.”
Other than that, Cawley said he figured the opponent would be fundamentally sound because Coach Bobby Smith always has his team prepared.
Next year this game will be a conference matchup under the new alignment, Cawley noted.
Cagle gave up one run in the first inning — unearned — and then shut down the visitors the rest of the way.
Cagle only gave up three hits, walked three and struck out eight, the coach said.
What was frustrating in the first inning was that there were two errors and a wild pitch that allowed Walkertown to score, the coach noted.
Hunter Wolfington led off the game with a single to center. Then a bad pickoff attempt moved the runner to second base.
A ball to the backstop moved Wolfington to third.
Chris Brooks followed with a chopper to third that bounced over the glove of Sam Harris for an error that brought in the runner.
Brooks tried to steal second and was gunned down by Wes Bumgartner, the first of three he would nail in the game.
“Wes was good behind the plate,” said Cawley. “He threw out two baserunners at second when the game was hotly contested. We had a little bit of a lead later when he threw out a runner at third.”
Kenny Overfelt had a nice diving catch in shallow left field for the second out of the first inning, and Cagle struck out the next batter.
When the Bears came to the plate, sophomore Caleb Horton was penciled in for the second spot.
Horton has been on varsity since his freshman year, but he’s been hitting down in the bottom half of the lineup, the coach said.
For this game, Horton moved up for the first time.
“I put him up in the second spot, and he hit better than he ever has before,” said Cawley. Horton responded well to the challenge.
In the first inning, it was his weakest hit that got the ball rolling.
Horton hit a dribbler down the third-base line. The fielder came in and picked up the ball at the chalk line, but he hesitated to throw as he waited to see if the umpire called it fair or foul.
By the time the throw went to first, Horton was safe.
Sam Harris followed with a single to left to put two runners on.
Cawley called a hit-and-run play with Logan Young at the plate. The ball was too high to hit, but Horton beat the tag at third base as both runners advanced.
“We put four hit-and-runs on, and they all worked out,” noted the coach.
A walk to Young juiced the bases for Benji Hicks.
Horton raced home on a wild pitch to tie the game at 1-1.
Hicks hit a potential home run shot to left that curved foul. Then he fouled off several pitches before finally going down on a called strike that had the home crowd booing.
In the second, Cagle walked the leadoff man. Then he got the next two batters to pop up to Horton at second, then Bumgartner threw out the runner at second for the third out.
In the bottom of the second, the Bears would take the lead.
Overfelt began the rally with a single. On a hit-and-run, Austin Taylor singled up the middle and Overfelt beat the throw to third. Taylor aggressively took second on the play at third.
Horton hit a bouncer up the middle and raced to first for an infield single that scored Overfelt.
In the bottom of the third, Harris reached on an infield error.
Young doubled with a bouncer over the third-base bag to put runners at second and third.
Hicks again put in a quality at-bat, fouling off several pitches and working a full count. Hicks crushed a hanging curve down the third-base line, but like his first at-bat, the ball curved foul.
Hicks struck out on a fastball down and in, but Cawley was pleased with how hard the senior made the pitcher work.
Bumgartner followed with a groundout to short that scored pinch runner Tyler Duty for a 3-1 lead.
In the fourth, Garrett VanHoy worked a walk, then Overfelt doubled to left-center to score VanHoy.
Taylor singled in Overfelt for a 5-1 lead. Then he was caught trying to steal second.
Horton earned a walk and then stole second base.
Harris pulled a double down the right-field line to score Horton for a 6-1 lead.
Young grounded to third as Harris advanced on the throw.
Hicks hit a ball off the end of the bat toward the second baseman, but the ball’s sideways spin caught the fielder off-guard for an error that let Harris score the final run.
After a close 2-0 loss to West Stokes last week, the Bears won all three games this week.
The Bears host East Surry on Tuesday.