With two outs and a runner on in the bottom-half of the final inning of Wednesday night’s matchup between North Forsyth and South Forsyth, War Eagles starter Cooper Davidson delivered from the stretch and fired a third consecutive strike by North outfielder Caleb Vercek, slamming the door on a 3-2 win for South and their second consecutive win to start region play.
“That was — I’m very proud of that,” said Davidson, who pitched the full seven for South while giving up only five hits with two strikeouts. “I just told myself that I’m finishing this myself—we’re getting out of here with the W.”
The War Eagles did their damage early, scoring all three of their runs on four hits in the second inning off of North starter Brody Westbrooks, who gave up eight hits through six innings while striking out five.
Davidson was dominant for the War Eagles, throwing only 70 pitches and retiring 11-straight batters at one point.
“The biggest thing with Coop is that when he repeats his delivery, he’s able to make the pitches that he wants to make,” South head coach Russ Bayer said. “It didn’t take long with the winter conditions. We knew exactly how we wanted to pitch them, and once he settled in and kind of got into that rhythm, he made the pitches that he needed to make.”
Davidson’s only mistake of the night came in the bottom-half of the sixth inning.
Battling back from a 1-2 count, North first baseman Kyle Martin took a 3-2 pitch that Davidson left just a tad up, and launched it deep into the frigid air for a no-out, two-run blast.
“I made one bad pitch,” Davidson said. “Kyle made the adjustment on me, 3-2, had to come back up the middle and see if he could swing the bat, and he made the adjustment.”
What followed was arguably the biggest play of the night.
With one out, North’s Carter Mullikin hit what looked like a sharp but manageable groundball to third and then turned it into two bags thanks to a wild throw to first. Down one and with the trying run at second, the Raiders pinch ran Preston Hedilius for Mullikin, hoping to tie the game on a base hit.
One pitch later Davidson caught Hedilius with an ambitious lead and and retired the side the very next pitch on a routine fly ball.
“I’ve got two great middle infielders in Grant Gerberding and Drew Becker and our communication is insane,” Davidson said.
“This team in the past has had the ability to do damage-control, and we’ve had the inability to do it,” Bayer said. “In that situation we were kind of able to steal the momentum back a little bit in getting that pick.”