By Scotty Rouse
The Piedmont Pride baseball team had a great weekend, winning all four games in SCBL play Friday and Saturday nights. The Pride, sponsored by the local Piedmont Fellowship of Christian Athletes, swept the Statesville Owls by scores of 11-5, 3-1, 5-3, and 2-0. The Pride is now tied for first place in the Southern Collegiate Baseball League with a record of 9-2.
In game 1 Friday at Statesville, the Pride scored 6 in the first, and never looked back. They were led at the plate by Joey Pena, Jake Barbee, Jeff Thompson, and Jaden Savage, each with 2 hits and 2 RBI. Andy Santana added 2 hits and scored 3 runs. The winning pitcher was Andrew Schorr, who gave up 2 hits and 1 earned run in 3 innings of work.
Game 2 was a much closer affair, but followed a similar script. The Pride again jumped out to a 3-0 after 2 innings. Barbee again led the Pride with 2 hits and an RBI, while Juan Adorno chipped in with a double. Zack Kamerman earned the victory, allowing 1 run and 6 hits in 5 1/3 innings of work. He struck out 6 and walked 1. Ryan Rigby earned the save with 1 1/3 hitless innings while striking out 2.
Saturday’s first game was a totally different story, as the Pride trailed the Owls 3-1 going into the bottom of the 6th of the 7-inning game. They scored 4 times in the 6th to take a 5-3 lead. The big hits were an RBI double from Jake Barbee, an RBI triple from Jeff Thompson, and an RBI single from Chase Sandberg. The winning pitcher was Keith Walsh, in relief of starter Jared Waldhoff, while Ryan Rigby earned another save with a perfect 7th inning, striking out 2.
The Pride completed the four game sweep behind tremendous pitching from Daniel Sweeney and Keith Walsh, as the duo combined to throw a 6-hit shutout. Walsh earned his second win of the day by throwing 3 innings of 2-hit baseball, striking out 4 and walking 1. Barbee again led the Pride with a perfect 3 for 3 night.
After 11 games, the Pride is led offensively by 1B Jake Barbee (Liberty) who is hitting .450 (18-40) with 4 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs, and 9 RBI.He is followed by Jake Smith (Norht Greenville) at .412 (7-17) and Austin Stout (Northern Illinois) .364 (4-11). Jeff Thompson(Belmont Abbey) is hitting .360 (9-25) with 1 double, 1 triple, and 5 RBI. USC-Upstate’s Jaden Savage is tied for the team lead with 2 home runs, and is second in RBI with 8.
On the mound, the Pride is led by Jared Waldhoff (Southeast Missouri State) with a 2-0 record and a 0.54 ERA, and Nyack’s Zack Kamerman with a 2-0 record and 0.87 ERA. Appalchian State’s Keith Walsh also sports a 2-0 record and 3.17 ERA, while Mississippi State’s Ryan Rigby has three saves.
Defensively, the Pride is fielding an astounding .981, led by the double play combination of shortstop Andy “Salsa” Santana and Joey “Chips” Pena.
The Pride has two games remaining of their four-game homestand. They host the Carolina Vipers Monday at 7:00, then take on the SBA Bones at 7:00 on Tuesday. Tuesday’s affair is a matchup between the top two teams in the league, as they are tied for first place with identical 9-2 records. Both games will be played at the Winthrop Ballpark. Admission is $5 for adults, and $3 for seniors and students. Children 12 and under will be admitted free of charge.