If the past two nights are any indication, the varsity baseball Fighting Scots have officially put their rainy days behind them.
A night after defeating the Richmond Raiders at home, a re-energized Scotland squad hosted Pinecrest Wednesday in a rain makeup game after last week’s showers put a damper on the Scots’ CCSSL schedule. And, in a performance that was as well-rounded as any they’ve had thus far this summer, the Fighting Scots blasted the Patriots by a score of 11-0.
Since he took over as the Fighting Scots head coaching position, Jamie Coleman has preached a mantra to his team that involves solid pitching, consistent defense and opportunistic hitting. All aspects were on display against Pinecrest, and when asked to reflect on the first 15 games of his coaching career (which has seen the Fighting Scots go 14-1), Coleman credits the relentless commitment from his players for their early success.
“No matter what I’ve asked them to do, they’ve done it, and that’s impressive considering 70 percent of these guys play on a travel ball or showcase baseball team,” Coleman said. “In addition to being resilient and unselfish, they love the game of baseball, and that’s something you can’t coach.”
A recurring pattern for the Fighting Scots thus far in the CCSSL has been their hot starts, and it was made clear right from the bottom of the first inning that Scotland had returned to form. After HB Stone led the game off with a walk, Trejon Monley joined him on the base pads after getting hit by a pitch. This brought up Blake Bennett, who has been one of Scotland’s hottest hitters over the past two months, and as he has seemingly done all summer-long, Bennett struck a single that drove in the first run of the game. The speedy Monley would steal two bases in the inning and scored a run himself off of a wild pitch, while Tripp McDonald added an RBI single to put the Scots up 4-0 after one complete inning.
Stone would score again on a heads-up play in the second inning, when a check swing from Will Adams produced an infield ball that neither the Pinecrest pitcher or First baseman could field in time. But it was just a prelude to a third inning that saw the Patriots change pitchers three different times as Scotland registered a six hit, six run stat tally. Both Stone and Adams made the most of bases-loaded situations in this inning, as Stone knocked in two RBIs with a single and Adams cleared the bags with a three-RBI double just three batters later.
Rounding out the Fighting Scots’ dominance was the pitching and defensive performances, both stellar against Pinecrest. In a game where he struck out 10 batters in five complete innings, Bennett only allowed the Patriots two instances where they could produce runs, and both ended the same way: With inning-ending double plays. The top of the second inning saw shortstop Grant English turn a ground ball into a 6-4-3 double play, and one inning later catcher McDonald sparked his own after catching a foul tip at home plate and making the throw-out to first base.
As it stands, there is one game left on the Fighting Scots’ CCSSL regular season schedule: a third consecutive home game which will see Scotland host West Stanley at 5:00 p.m. Thursday evening. The game was optional, as it wouldn’t affect Scotland’s chances of obtaining a number-one seed once the CCSSL playoffs begin Monday evening at Terry Sanford in Fayetteville.
But coach Coleman wanted his team to suit up regardless, because after nearly a week off due to weather, the Fighting Scots have rediscovered their dominant form at just the right time.
“If you want to continue improving and being successful, you can’t stop playing, especially when you’re playing as well as we are,” Coleman said. “We’ll have a lot of guys absent from our lineup against West Stanley, so I see it as only a positive thing to give our entire lineup a chance to shine.”