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Sunday's look ahead: Firebird baseball looks to keep up the hot start

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By SAMUEL EVERS
Sports Writer

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Southern Nash baseball today is trying to play two. It seems, with the forecast the way it is, they’ll play none.

The Firebirds have two five-inning games scheduled at home against Smithfield-Selma, the first at 4 p.m., but rain indeed figures to wipe those out and slow down a hot start for head coach Todd Brewer’s team. Should the weather play out the way it is expected, their next scheduled game is Wednesday at home against Clayton-Cleveland.

Off a successful 14-11 season—its first above .500 in a long time—Southern Nash has opened this one to a 4-0 record, with two wins against SouthWest Edgecombe, one against Cleveland, and the other this past weekend against former conference foe Nash Central.

The team ERA thus far has been 2.75, with sophomore Matt Horrigan (two wins, 1.17 ERA) and senior Leroy Edwards, who hasn’t allowed a run in six innings pitched, leading the way.

“The pitching has been good. Leroy’s our senior ace; he’s played two different roles. He’s closed out two games and started one against Cleveland,” Brewer said. “Matt’s stepped up and thrown strikes in big games.”

This year’s group has been a tighter team than in past years, said Brewer, one that showed its fight in the second game of the year, when they pulled off an improbable win against SouthWest Edgecombe after falling behind 9-0 by the fourth inning.

They countered with 10 runs combined in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, including five in that sixth frame, all scored with two outs. Edwards picked up the save in the top of the seventh.

“The guys -- they didn’t feel like they were out of it,” Brewer said. “A big team-building win. We could have just let it slide but they stuck together. Somehow at the end we managed to pull it out.”

As it stands right now, four games sit between Southern Nash and the conference schedule, which opens up on March 19 against Wilson Fike, perhaps the Big East favorites.

“We’re hoping in the next week to be able to stretch out our starters, see how far they can go and simulate what it’s like in a conference game,” Brewer said. “Hopefully we can go into conference with that first game against Fike and make a little bit of noise.”

Other area notes

  • Assuming this week’s action will not begin today, Tuesday still looks to have a full slate of local action. Northern Nash baseball, which has struggled so far this season, will host SouthWest Edgecombe at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday in search of its first win. Air Force commit Silas Gonzalez is leading the Knights (0-5) with a .375 batting average.
  • Nash Central and Rocky Mount softball will both make the short drive to each school’s field this week to play a home-and-away. Both games will be at 4 p.m., with the Bulldogs (0-4) hosting Monday and the Gryphons (2-1) hosting Wednesday.
  • There are several Big East matchups this week for boys tennis. Check our schedule at the beginning of the scoreboard page every day for times, matchups and scores.
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