Southern Nash didn’t scrounge up too many hits Thursday against SouthWest Edgecombe, but it made each and every one count.
Of its six total hits during a doubleheader at SouthWest Edgecombe High School, four of them produced runs as Southern Nash swept the Cougars, tripling its season win total in the process.
“It’s just being smart on the bases and getting it done,” center fielder/pitcher Jarrett Browning said.
The Firebirds won Game 1, 6-2, and won Game 2, 5-1.
Before Thursday, Southern Nash (3-12, 0-6 Big East) had won just one game all year. In a little more than three hours, the Firebirds added two more victories to their season total.
“We didn’t do anything complicated,” Southern Nash coach Jeff Flowers said. “We threw strikes, made plays and found a way to score – scratch runs. We’ve been anemic on offense, and we just found a way to do it.”
After a shaky start during which SouthWest Edgecombe (4-10, 2-4 Eastern Plains) had its first two batters of the day cross home plate despite no hits, Southern Nash settled down behind Browning and first-game starter Lukas Overman.
After walking five batters in the first inning of the day and allowing two runs, Overman walked one more the rest of the game, and SouthWest Edgecombe managed just one hit.
Overman faced eight batters in the first inning and faced just 13 in the final four innings of the first game.
“I think the difference is you have two teams that have been struggling all year long, and they just looked a little bit hungrier (Thursday) to win than we did,” first-year SouthWest Edgecombe coach Andrew Harrell said. “We just came out flat. I don’t think we wanted it as bad as Southern Nash did.”
The Firebirds had limited opportunities in both games but managed to push runs across whenever they had a chance Thursday.
Their first two hits scored three runs, and Southern Nash, which has lost four one-run games, posted two big innings the rest of the day. Southern Nash scored three runs in the fourth inning of Game 1 to seal the victory, and its five-run outburst in the second inning of Game 2 left little doubt in the end result.
“When we do the right things, we’ve got a chance,” said Flowers, who added that his team has started to mature mentally. “We’ll be in every game. As long as we throw well, we’ll be in every game. Even if we’re marginal on offense, we’ll have a shot.”
SouthWest Edgecombe didn’t do much to hurt itself, committing just five errors in ten innings. Ultimately, it was the Cougars inability to help themselves at the plate that hurt the most.
“That (has) just kind of been the story of their season,” Harrell said. “We’re kind of on again, off again. We show up for innings at a time, then we take innings off. That (has) kind been our curse all year.”
Browning carried Overman’s dominance into Game 2. He allowed just one run, scattering six hits and giving Southern Nash something it has struggled all season to accrue – victories.
“It just feels good,” Browning said. “We’re playing hard, getting after it and finally playing as a team.”