BOONE — Watauga’s pitching carried its summer varsity instructional team to a 3-1 victory in a five-inning game.
Maiden scored a run in the first inning off Watauga starter Rivers Gore, but was held off the scoreboard by Gore in the second inning. Watauga’s next three pitchers had similar results.
Tyler Ward, Ben Styles and Ryan Fox each pitched an inning for Watauga. Styles was pitching for the first time ever, according to Watauga coach Ethan Greene and set Maiden down in order. Fox, who throws faster than the other three relief pitchers, closed out the game for Watauga.
“When we have guys who go out and consistently pound the (strike) zone and throw multiple pitches for strikes it gives us a chance,” Greene said. “We had guys who looked really good.”
Warren played a role in Watauga tying the game 1-1 by doubling with one out. He scored on a Jacob McInturff single. Watauga took a 2-1 lead when Simon Garner reached base because of a dropped third strike. Fox reached base on a Maiden error and Styles walked to loaded the bases with just one out.
Watauga took the lead when Thomas Clements hit a fielder’s choice to second base, which drove in Garner. Watauga added a run in the bottom of the fourth inning when Austin Idol walked and scored on a Garner single. Watauga finished with just four hits.
“There were some at-bats I thought we gave away,” Greene said. “There were some pitches we missed a few times, but you still got to make the adjustments.”
Maiden’s first pitcher did not throw his fastball with a lot of velocity, but had a good breaking pitch that kept Watauga’s batters off-balance. Maiden’s second pitcher threw with a lot more speed.
“Especially with that first guy throwing a lot slower, we have to make adjustments to see the ball deeper and be willing to take the ball the other way,” Greene said. “Then they brought in the next guy, who was throwing a lot harder, you have to speed up and adjust to the fastball. It’s just the nature of the game.”
Watauga’s junior varsity team also lost 6-4 to Maiden.
Watauga plays at Burke County on June 18, which starts a run of five doubleheaders in nine days. After playing in Burke County, Watauga plays at Hickory on June 20, plays at Lincolnton on June 25, hosts Burke County on June 26 and closes out the season at Maiden on June 27.