Nash Central, Trey Whitley finish off Firebirds
By SAMUEL EVERS
Friday, March 16, 2018
Trey Whitley entered the third inning with one job.
Or, in the eyes of the chilly observers, perhaps two—throw strikes, and hurry a wandering game along.
Whitley, the junior right-hander for Nash Central, entered the game Friday night against former conference rival Southern Nash in the third inning, taking over after a melancholy first two innings that lasted one hour and five minutes.
The Bulldogs’ other most reliable pitcher, Hunter Robinson, had slogged through the first six outs, relenting four walks, two hit batters and five runs (three earned). Whitley did his job, speeding up the final five innings while allowing only one run for the 10-6 home victory that avenged a loss to the Firebirds (5-3) last week.
“At their place they beat us pretty good. Tonight we came out and felt like we’d play better than last time, and we did,” Whitley said. “Just wanted to go out there and get my first pitch across, start the count ahead. Try to minimize the walks. I have my confidence going better than the beginning of the season.”
The Firebirds scored two runs in the first, three in the second, and another in the third off Whitley—their last of the game. Their offense was aided by both walks and errors, with Jason Montague leading the way with two sacrifice flys in the first two innings.
Nash Central (4-2) kept up though, answering back in the bottom of the first with four runs, adding another in the second and five more in an error-filled third inning. That made it 10-6, completing a score that at the time seemed like it might keep inflating.
“They punched us, we punched them, we got the last lick, that’s what matters. That’s what I told my guys,” Nash Central coach Willie Langley said.
In a game filled with unearned runs, Drifton Padgett in the two-hole stuck out, finishing 3-for-4 with three singles and two RBI.
Garrett Killebrew added two RBI on a double and sacrifice fly.
For the Firebirds, who dropped their third game in four tries after a 4-0 start, Jonathan Stallings toughed his way through the first four innings, and Luke Edwards finished off the game on the mound.
“I’m a huge Carolina fan and I’ve heard Roy Williams say many-a-time, you’ve got to win the ugly games to have a good season,” Langley said. “It was ugly.”