Published: Mar 04, 2012 07:59 PM
Modified: Mar 04, 2012 08:14 PM
APEX - A Garner-Middle Creek game normally would have attracted a larger crowd of non-high school baseball fans than usual, but not in the age of social media.
There were a few older fans that peered around the Garner dugout during warmups looking for a glimpse of senior pitcher Scott McCreery -- better known as the American Idol star -- when the Trojans warmed up for their game at Middle Creek's field.
But younger fans attuned to Twitter or McCreery's website knew better than to show up looking for high school baseball's most famous singer and part-time Garner reliever.
"He's in Baltimore today for a concert," said Middle Creek left fielder Blake Hunley to one of the older spectators in attendance. "He posted it on Twitter."
McCreery's absence wasn't the only disappointment for Middle Creek fans as Garner (2-0) won 9-1 over the Mustangs (1-1) in the non-conference game Thursday.
This might otherwise have been the ideal game to catch McCreery playing since Garner coach Derik Goffena used the one-sided contest to empty his bench, playing everyone but three pitchers he said he saved for the Trojans' next game.
In any case, no team would be less star-struck facing Garner and McCreery than the Mustangs. They knew McCreery back when he was Scotty the West Lake Middle School baseball player.
Hunley was among six of Middle Creek players -- five of them starters -- who were teammates with McCreery at West Lake. Mustangs first baseman Austin Parker, who plans to play next year at Lenoir Community College, was the closest with McCreery, having also competed on a travel ball team with him.
"I haven't seen him in a while and was looking forward to seeing him in the game," Parker said. "He loved baseball when I played with him. He worked very hard at it."
However, it was also a game when Goffena only needed to use two pitchers since left-hander Brighton Hudson limited Middle Creek to one run in over six innings before giving way in the seventh.
Hudson also contributed a two-run single in the third inning for a 4-0 lead. Third baseman Tyler Mashburn was 3-of-4 with two singles, a double and two runs scored.
Middle Creek's only run came in the bottom of the fourth inning when Garner was already up 5-0. Designated hitter Jimmy Boyd singled to score David Salmon, who had singled and advanced to second on an error.
Middle Creek coach Jeremy Thompson isn't about to panic, though. He pointed out he has a young team that will improve.
"Garner is a good team that played well and we didn't execute," Thompson said. "We have a lot of guys that haven't had much (varsity) playing time, so it's a building process. We'll get better."