Beaufort County Post 15 earns statement win over Edenton

Published 10:07 pm Friday, June 12, 2015

DAVID CUCCHIARA | DAILY NEWS QUALITY START: Rising junior Tripp Barfield allowed just two hits, three walks and two runs (one earned) in five innings on Friday against Edenton Post 40.

QUALITY START: Rising junior Tripp Barfield allowed just two hits, three walks and two runs (one earned) in five innings on Friday against Edenton Post 40.

A collection of Beaufort County’s top high school baseball players were on display Friday night at Washington High School’s Futrell Field, as Post 15 took one more step toward locking up the No. 1 overall seed in Area 1 with a decisive 11-2 win over Edenton Post 40.

“This team has a tremendous amount of confidence right now,” said head coach Glenn Marsh. “They’re all playing well, all contributing. It is a fantastic team to coach and I couldn’t be happier. They work hard, pull for each other and pick each other up when times are tough.”

So far, 10 games into the summer season, the reformation of Junior Legion Baseball in Beaufort County has paid dividends. Players like Tripp Barfield and Chase Sauls, a pair who struggled at the plate during the high school season, have found new life competing on what Marsh considers a local all-star team of an elite caliber. And after dropping one-of-two games to Post 40 earlier in the season, Friday’s game is a testament to just how far the Pirates have come in a month’s time.

Barfield, the No. 2 pitcher who has been solid of late, held Edenton to just two hits and three walks through five innings, tallying seven strikeouts in the process. His fastball was flush with slight movement, slider centered and changeup located, forcing lunging hacks and softly hit ground balls.

“He controlled the strike zone, first-pitch strikes,” Marsh said. “He did a great job of changing up pitches and keeping them off balance. Pounding the strike zone, he did a good job tonight.”

At the dish, second baseman Logan Little continued his hot hitting with a 2-for-3 performance, while centerfielder Matthew Black finished 2-for-3 with a walk, double and two RBIs.

Edenton starting pitcher Nathaniel Stallings struggled with his control early and lasted just two-thirds of an inning. The right-hander gave up two hits, a walk and plunked three batters in the first, handing the Pirates a quick 3-0 lead. Caleb Daniels came to Stallings aid with two outs and the bases loaded, but No. 9 hitter Kellum Cahoon blasted a single to the gap in left-center, scoring two. All five runs were charged to Stallings, who left Washington with the loss.

Daniels held Post 15 to just one hit through the next two innings, but Barfield was equally as impressive on the other end. Pitching on his home mound, Washington’s rising junior bailed his defense out in the first after an error placed two runners in scoring position with one out. Barfield came back and struck out the next two batters. After a flawless second, a walk to Brendon Reynolds, along with a botched pickoff to first base and a throwing error on the same series, resulted in Edenton’s first run of the game, through Barfield would again evade further damage, closing the inning out with a strikeout.

“Have to clean up the errors tonight and they will,” Marsh said. “They learn now that when you make an error to flush it, move on to the next play.”

After a three-error inning, Beaufort County would play clean defense through the final four frames, though a single by Stallings, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly would cut the host’s lead to 5-2 after three and a half innings.

In the bottom of the fourth, however, the Pirates put the game away. Little smashed a single through the left side of the infield and the next three batters — Barfiled, Hunter Sparks and Drew Ferguson — would reach. After relief pitcher Cameron Reynold fanned Black, Sauls came through with a two-out, two-RBI single to left field.

“It’s just confidence,” Marsh said in reference to Sauls’ resurgence. “They get here at practice and get right to work. No play time. It’s all confidence. They believe in themselves and they’re having a good time.”

After Sauls came in and pitched a near perfect final two innings, Beaufort County added to their total with a three-run sixth, spurred by a double from Black.

With the win, Post 15 improves to 7-3 (4-1 Area 1) and sits just one game behind the Cary Bulls, who have played two more games, for first place. The team will travel to Bertie for a double-header on Saturday. First pitch for Game 1 is scheduled for 3 p.m.