GETTING LOOSE: Southside earns second straight win
Published 10:57 pm Monday, April 25, 2016
CHOCOWINITY — It came down to playing a looser, more fun game. For the most part, that’s all it’s taken to get Southside back on track. The Seahawks blanked Kinston, 9-0, on Monday evening for their first shutout of the season and second straight win. It brought their overall record to 8-9 and provides a model for success heading into the final four games of the season.
“It’s just playing with confidence — playing they way they’re capable of playing,” coach Kevin McRoy said. “They were struggling. They were thinking too much instead of just reacting and playing. We started playing relaxed at Lejeune on Friday.”
Kinston, with just five wins on the campaign, has struggled this season. The struggles continued as the Vikings ran into exceptional defense from the Seahawks. They turned multiple double plays — including one in the sixth inning that was nearly a triple play.
The final double play came in the seventh inning. Storm Jones reached first when Josh Crance couldn’t glove the throw his way. The Seahawks made up for immediately when Alan McLawhorn grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Shyire Thompson then flew out to Lawrence Brown in centerfield and that was all she wrote.
Pitcher Paul Radford stood out just as the infield behind him. He struck out three in the first inning. He made a case for playing the complete seven innings, despite McRoy initially only planning on throwing him for about half the game.
“We had three or four double plays,” McRoy said. “I told Paul he pitched a heck of a game. It was the best all-around game we’ve played all year. On defense, (Kinston) put the bat on the ball, but we made routine plays. That’s what I’ve been preaching to them all year.
“Just make the routine plays — nothing spectacular, just routine plays. If you make the routine plays, you give yourself a chance to win a ball game and stay in a ball game. We did that (Monday night).”
McRoy also praised the work of freshman third baseman Will Warren. He was consistent in making those aforementioned routine plays.
Southside, leading 7-0 heading into its half of the sixth, nearly forced a slightly early decision. Chase Nobles and Hunter Sparks led off with consecutive base hits. Sparks scored on Crance’s double to center. Crance moved to third on the throw home and later came across on Marshall Medlock’s line drive to center.
“Offensively, I think we put the bat on the ball to get nice shots,” McRoy said. “We had some quick innings, but they were hard shots at someone. We’ve been telling them all year to keep hitting it hard. They found the holes, we kept hitting it and we kept scoring.”
Consecutive outs saw the Seahawks fall short of the 10-run mercy rule, but they made short work of Kinston in the seventh to earn the win.
Southside travels to Columbia on Wednesday before closing out the season with three straight conference matches with Pamlico County, East Carteret and Northside.