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SHALLOTTE—North Brunswick High School baseball coach Randy Fennell believes defense will be one of his team’s strengths this season.
But that certainly wasn’t the case Friday night when the Scorpions opened their season at West Brunswick. The North Brunswick infield committed nine errors, and the Trojans took advantage in a 12-0 victory.
Fennell said the defensive miscues came as a surprise, especially after the Scorpions took a good round of infield and outfield practice immediately before the game.
“I did not see this coming. I still think, if you take this game out, our strong suit is going to be our defense,” Fennell said.
“We’re going to come around. That display right there won’t impress anybody. I was absolutely shocked. I thought we were focused and ready to play. I don’t know what happened, but it did get ugly.”
West Brunswick coach Mike Alderson could relate to Fennell’s frustration. Earlier in the week, the Trojans committed eight errors in their season-opening loss to South Columbus.
“Randy thought his defense was a strong point, the same thing we thought, and then we came out on Monday night and kicked it all over the place,” Alderson said. “It’s early and there are jitters and kids are going to make physical mistakes.”
West Brunswick (2-1) played flawless defense behind senior pitcher Aaron Evans. The right-hander pitched a three-hitter with six strikeouts and evened his record at 1-1.
Evans benefited from two double plays, both turned by shortstop Pat Kamfolt. A twin killing in the first inning helped Evans get out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam.
Evans faced the minimum 12 batters through the next four innings before the game was stopped in the fifth inning because of the 10-run mercy rule.
“Aaron pitched very well. He only faced I think 17 batters. We’ve had two good outings from the last two pitchers (including Brock Holmes vs. South Brunswick).
“Ethan Cox pitched well (against South Columbus). We just made errors behind him. I’ve been real pleased with the pitching. Pitching’s been good so far coming out of the gate.”
Offensive leaders against North Brunswick included Zack Spivey, who was 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored, and Josh Powell, who was 2-for-2 with one RBI and one run scored.
Seth Roberts was 1-for-2 with three RBI and Joey Granados was 1-for-2 with three runs scored for the Trojans.
“We swung the bats well. I was pleased with the bats,” Alderson said. “We put it in play and they made some errors behind it, which increased the run production.”
Blake Norris went 2-for-2 and Dakota Irwin had the other hit for the Scorpions.
Losing pitcher Timothy Child gave up seven hits and 11 runs in 1 1/3 innings, but only one of the runs was earned.
Josh Hamilton pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief for the Scorpions. He held the Trojans to one hit and one unearned run and had three strikeouts.
West Brunswick scored five runs in the first inning on three hits and three errors. Granados had an RBI single to knock in the first run and Roberts capped the inning with a two-out, two-run single to right field.
In the second, the Trojans collected three more hits and took advantage of three more North Brunswick errors to score six runs.
Kamfolt’s leadoff double set the tone for the big inning. He came home on a sacrifice fly by Powell.
Spivey’s two-run single down the third-base line made it 8-0, and two more runs came home on a throwing error.
“I told my guys I’ll stack my defense up against West Brunswick any day of the week. I think position by position we’re as good as any team we’re going to play,” Fennell said.
“Why we turned this thing into a circus I have no idea. It got to be kind of comical there at the end. I mean we had quality players that didn’t want the ball hit to them.”
West Brunswick and North Brunswick are scheduled to meet again Friday in Leland.
On Saturday, the Trojans will play their annual 100-inning alumni baseball game starting at 9 a.m.
Doug Rutter is the sports editor at the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or at firstname.lastname@example.org