Published: Mar 09, 2012 03:54 AM
Modified: Mar 10, 2012 08:20 PM
Pitching keys Fuquays start
Bengals eke out tight contest with Panther Creek
FUQUAY-VARINA - Fuquay-Varinas expected strength this season was its bevy of returning batters. But the pitching has been unmistakably pivotal in the Bengals first three games this year.In three games, the Bengals have allowed just five runs.Ranked No. 10 in the Impact Baseball preseason poll, Fuquay kept its unbeaten record intact thanks to another strong night on the mound as it defeated visiting Panther Creek 2-1 on Thursday night.The Catamounts (2-4), were held to five hits, including two infield singles, by Fuquay pitchers Garrett Suggs and Clint Williams.Williams worked the sixth and seventh innings to pick up the win. When Im coming in to close like that, I really just gas it up and throw real hard, said Williams, who allowed one hit and struck out three. (The pitchers) have been doing really well, throwing strikes and just getting people out.The Fuquay bats were kept cold for most of the night, scattering their seven hits and leaving four runners in scoring position. The Bengals (3-0, 2-0) did get on the board first in the bottom of the second as No. 9 hitter Lucas Scott drove in Deuce Johnson (2-for-3) with an RBI double.Were missing the at-bats in a game situation to get to hopefully well hit the ball better than we have. Thats really the only thing thats lacking, said Fuquay coach Milton Senter. Weve got enough pitching. We may not have great pitching, but weve got good pitching.The Catamounts also scored their first run on an two-out RBI by a second baseman, as Dan DElia (2-for-2) singled in a run in the top of the fourth.But the game changed in the bottom of the fifth, when Fuquay loaded the bases thanks to a walk to Garrett Suggs, Kirk Stephensons grounder to third that was mishandled by Trevor Howard and an intentional walk to Addison Braswell.PC starting pitcher Nathan Harris was facing Fuquay sophomore D.J. Burt when he looked back at second to see Stephenson taking a large lead. Thats a play we do with two outs and two strikes, Senter said. But as it turns out, we didnt have to draw a throw.Caught in between deciding whether or not to deliver the next pitch or to try and pick off the runner, Harris flinched. A balk was called, and all the runners advanced one base -- including Suggs from third. A few pitches later, Burt struck out to end the inning. It was Panther Creeks third one-loss run of the young season. The little mistakes are whats getting us right now, Hall said. Weve just got a really ambitious group that looks for opportunities, and you cant fault that.Senter said PC had turned the corner this season. Fuquay is off to an unbeaten start, but the Bengals know it will be another tough season in the Tri-Nine Conference, whether or not the pitching sustains its current level of play.Theyve got a good team, Senter said of PC, and so does everybody else. Its a brutal league.
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