The Wilkes Warriors got their All-American Collegiate Baseball League summer season underway on Wednesday night, but Mooresville got its season off on the right foot, coming away with a pair of wins, 9-1 and 7-1, at Major Larry J. Bauguess Field in Moravian Falls.
Though showing several positives throughout two seven-inning contests, Warriors’ skipper Shawn Hawk felt that falling behind early set the tone.
In game one the All-Americans scored three times in the first inning, all unearned.
“I think we were a little timid at the plate with it being a new team, new environment; I think as the season goes along we’re going to be a little more aggressive and start hitting,” said Hawk.
“We definitely have a lot of talent on this team coming from all divisions of baseball, and once they start swinging, the lineup’s going to be deadly.”
One positive was shutting down Mooresville (2-0) over the next three innings. However, the Warriors couldn’t cut into the deficit, stranding eight base-runners through the first five innings.
Wilkes only mustered two hits off All-Americans starter Seth Weekley.
The right-hander from Catawba Valley Community College struck out five in four innings of work.
Matt Miller, who went 2-for-4 out of the designated hitter spot, led off the bottom of the sixth with a single and scored from second by hustling home on John Krause’s fielder’s choice to cut the deficit to 8-1.
Another player who had a solid outing offensively was Jake Bloom.
The rising senior at Grace College (Ind.) went 4-for-5 over the doubleheader and helped Wilkes tie the second contest at one on an RBI double.
“Jake hit the ball really well. Matt, who DHed in the first game but pitched in the second game, hit the ball really well also,” Hawk said.
“We had Owen Lilly come in and pitch; he’s a lefty just out of high school, and he was impressive, giving up one run in two innings. He doesn’t throw hard but he gets the outs.
“Defensively we were pretty strong. Darrius Jennings is basically our only shortstop, and he’s pretty smooth out there so I’m looking forward to watching him play some more.”
Wilkes (0-2) played error-free in the second game (after committing three in the opener), but the All-Americans extended their lead to 5-1 on an RBI double and RBI single by Zack Littman in the second and third innings, respectively.
The rising sophomore from the University of Massachusetts went 7-for-7 at the dish with a pair of RBIs.
While Mooresville, which opens up its home slate on Saturday versus the Carolina Freedom, had a full slate of players on Wednesday, Wilkes is still tinkering with its lineup.
The Warriors had players join just prior to opening day, such as Ryan Harrold, who got the start in game two and went 1-for-3 at the plate, and are still waiting on a couple of players to arrive following the completion of their college teams’ seasons.
According to Hawk, one player who has not yet arrived is Steven Fisher from the University of California at Santa Barbara. The Gauchos wrapped up their season playing in the Corvallis (Ore.) Regional of the College World Series this past weekend.
Hawk hopes as the season wears on that the team gets better. The Warriors will return to the diamond on Saturday when they travel to the Rowan Patriots and then travel to Mt. Pleasant on Sunday.
Wilkes returns home against the Freedom next Wednesday. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 5 p.m.
“These guys play some competitive ball in college and I’m sure they’ve all been playing in tournaments growing up, so once they get into the season they should be fine,” said Hawk.
“From the talent I see on the Mooresville team, they look like they’re going to be a pretty good team in the league, so that sets the bar for us, and I think the next time we play them we’re going to have a little surprise for them.”
Notes: Several former Wilkes County standouts saw action during Wednesday’s twin bill for the Warriors…Besides Harrold, Jaryd Wingler (North Wilkes) started at second base in both contests and Dustin Bare (North Wilkes) struck out three despite surrendering three runs on four hits in two innings of work on the mound in game two…Aaron Sparks, who hails from Troutman but played his prep ball at Wilkes Central, picked up the win on the mound for Mooresville in game two, allowing a run on three hits and struck out one in the first two innings…Another Wilkes County standout, Brent Whittington, who played at North Wilkes and is currently playing for Milligan College (Tenn.) was originally on Wilkes’ roster but will be playing for the Morganton Aggies out of the Southern Collegiate Baseball League instead. Whittington will be joined on the Aggies by 2012 Wilkes Central graduate Stefan Susi.
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