Some good, some errors, on Falcon opening day
Unlike nearly every other high school baseball squad which has started, or tried to start, seasons around central North Carolina in the last week or two, Lee Christian played its season and home opener on a perfect spring afternoon Tuesday.
The start to the game wasn't as ideal for the Falcons against Carolina Christian Conference foe Northwood Temple. The Eagles led 8-2 after four innings and went on to an 11-5 win.
Errors, mainly out of over-excitement trying to make pickoffs and throws, allowed Northwood Temple baserunners to become runs, even without the aid of many hits off of Falcon starting pitcher Brent Godfrey.
"Brent pitched well enough for us to win the game if we didn't make so many mistakes behind him," said Lee Christian head coach Mike Seawell.
Eagle leadoff hitter Gio Garcia singled, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Gabe Wright's ground out to second. The Eagles added another run with two outs thanks to Chance Chavis reaching via an error, moving around the bags with a errant pickoff, then a passed ball, and scoring on Denzel Brown's single.
The Falcons put plenty of runners on in their first inning, and kept going for most of the day.
Noah Thomas singled into center, then raced around to third on an Eagle pickoff error. He scored on a wild pitch. Harrison Rogers singled and Heath Yow walked, but both were left on.
Godfrey pitched a three-up, three-down second, but the Eagles put a pair on the board again in the third, then four in the fourth - off no hits but four Lee Christian errors - for an 8-2 lead.
Rogers and Godfrey switched battery positions during the Northwood Temple sixth and during the pitching change Seawell gave a good message to his Falcons, even as they trailed 11-2.
"I said, 'let's play this last inning and a half like it's a close game and try to close it out.'"
With two runners caught stealing, the Falcons ended the Eagle sixth. The Falcons plated a run in the next half-inning, with Rogers blasted a triple to deep centerfield and scoring.
The Falcons scored two runs and sent eight men up in their last at bats. A two-RBI double by Thomas, a shot into the left-center field gap, scored Eli Riddle and Ju Hyup Jin.
Yow, who played first base most of the game, and Caleb Reynolds, who was at third base most of the way, are seventh graders. Jin, the Falcon centerfielder and leadoff hitter, played his first-ever baseball game Tuesday.
Jin struck out in his first at bat, then walked three straight times and scored two runs.
Rogers, in the clean-up spot, went 3 for 4 including his triple and run. Thomas went 2 for 3 including his two-run double.
Chavis pitched the last five innings and got the victory for the Eagles. Rogers pitched 1.2 scoreless, hitless innings for the Falcons.
After opening with a CCC contest, the Falcons face three non-conference games now, starting at home versus Freedom Christian at 4 p.m. Thursday.