Coleman-Pitt coach Hank Jones always has preached on-base percentage to his teams. Most of the time, walks are just as valuable as hits.
Despite only three hits through the first seven innings, Post 58 was in cruise control even before the rain started to fall Thursday night on American Legion Field.
Even with the heavy drizzle as the sixth inning began, Post 58 kept its offense rolling and pitcher Blake Helms put up his second stellar performance in as many appearances with an 11-2 victory to remain undefeated through the first four games of the season.
“I’d like to build (momentum) at the end of the year,” Jones said with a laugh. “It’s important to keep building and fix the mistakes that you’re making and try to keep winning.”
Some of the time, Coleman-Pitt Post 58 (3-0-1) reached base on its own, including Khalil Macklin’s two-run home run to straight away center field – one of those times that a walk doesn’t necessarily equal a hit.
Most of the time, Pitt County Post 39 (2-2) gave Post 58 free bases. Coleman-Pitt received 12 issued walks and scored on six of the eight total passed balls.
“Apparently, there wasn’t a whole lot to hit,” Jones said. “They walked their fair share, and they did have a lot of passed balls. ... We can only do what we can do.”
Post 58 had just one hit before the fourth inning but already had staked itself to a four-run lead.
However, Pitt County posted its first run in the top of the fourth and called on Frankie Williamson, a right-handed submariner, for a relief appearance.
Williamson fooled the first three batters, striking out two and earning a groundout. But Post 58 leadoff batter Christian Perry reached first base on a dropped third strike.
With Perry on second, David Williams singled to center field before Macklin stepped to the plate, having watched and timed Williamson’s fastball.
“I picked up the spin and it didn’t move at all,” said Macklin, who scored three times and went 3-for-4 at the plate. “I just put the bat on the ball.”
Post 58 didn’t need all those runs with Helms on the mound.
After pitching just 16 innings during the high school season for Rocky Mount, Helms has thrown 11 innings in just two games this season – allowing no earned runs.
“I just feel like I have something to prove to people,” Helms said. “... I just beared down, threw strikes and was getting ground balls. I couldn’t ask for a better ‘D’ than I had.”
Helms worked his curve ball for strikes for much of the game and didn’t allow a runner to reach base until the fourth inning, when Jehneil House reached on a dropped third strike.
“He just needs the opportunity to pitch, and he’s going to get it here,” said Jones, who added that he has been pleased with the team’s pitching thus far.
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or firstname.lastname@example.org