Above just about everything else, Coleman-Pitt Post 58 coach Hank Jones was happy to see his team play well after two disastrous outings.
Maybe more than splitting the season series with Garner, which was picked by many to win the league, or closing the gap between the top and the bottom of the Area I West standings or even handing the Nationals their first loss of the season with a 10-0 victory in eight innings, Jones just wanted see his team play better.
They certainly did.
“I just think it’s important that we got a win, and we’re still in the hunt to win the league,” Jones said.
After committing 13 errors in its previous two losses, Coleman-Pitt (5-2-1, 1-2 Area I West) didn’t record and error behind starting pitcher Cody Smith, who combined with Rocky Mount High teammate Will Edwards in a four-hit shutout.
Instead, Post 58 took advantage of four errors by Garner (11-1, 2-1), which lost its first game of the season.
Combining the Nationals’ mistakes with 11 hits of its own, and Post 58’s victory never seemed in doubt – especially after a five-run second inning.
“We had to come out (Wednesday with a lot of intensity,” said catcher Ryan Williams, who had two doubles and scored the game-ending run in the eighth. “... We just wanted to come out here (Wednesday) and play a good game.”
Coleman-Pitt took a few days off – one because of a rain out – before returning to practice Monday. In two days of workouts, there wasn’t much batting practice taken.
On Monday, Jones said the team didn’t even swing a bat.
On Wednesday night at American Legion Field, the results showed when Post 58 was in the field.
“It’s the team that catches and throws the best that wins championships,” second baseman Garrison Vick said, quoting Rocky Mount Academy coach Pat Smith. “The last few practices, we’ve worked on that because it has been our weakest part.”
Coleman-Pitt went only one inning without a base runner. Itnever faced more than four batters in an inning only once in the field. That, re-emphasized the point that Post 58 could win the league if it doesn’t hurt itself.
“We played a good game, and we beat the team that everybody says is supposed to be the best,” Jones said. “If we can run off a few wins here and there, we have a chance, just like they do, to win the league.”
Post 58 faces a stretch of four games in the next four days, all of which will be league contests.
Coleman-Pitt returns to Legion Field at 7 tonight for a game against Cary Post 67 before a home doubleheader Saturday and a road game Sunday.
“Any time you can win, especially if you beat Garner, you should feel good about the rest of the week,” Jones said. “... They’re all league games from here on out. Each one of them is important.”
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or firstname.lastname@example.org