North Beaufort 12U looking for more of the same

Published 1:54 am Thursday, July 14, 2016

JAMESVILLE — North Beaufort’s 12U baseball team started off the Little Tar Heel District 7 tournament on the wrong foot, but has shown consistent signs of improvement. It paid off in the form of an 6-1 win on Tuesday.

North Beaufort has improved in just about every facet of its game. The boys were one out from a perfect game on Sunday and their defense had another exceptional showing in their most recent outing.

Meanwhile, the offense has become formidable as they continually improved their approach at the plate. Being smart at the plate has translated into plenty of baserunners for North Beaufort. That’s where the all stars use their aggression to make the opposition pay.

“It’s been decision making at the plate,” coach Anthony Keech said. “We’re swinging at strikes and leaving the balls there. We get a lot of walks and, as soon as we get walked, we steal bases.

“We’re leaving the high stuff alone, which had been a problem all year. Really, we’re just concentrating on swinging at strikes. If they swing at high balls, they’ve got pushups to do!”

North Beaufort loaded the bases three times in Tuesday’s six-run offensive showcase. Not only did the team get runners on, but it was able to capitalize on its scoring chances, too. Once runners were on, North Beaufort was able to get the key hits needed to score. Andrew Keech had one late in Tuesday’s game when he plated two runs by chopping a ball through the infield.

Even as the offense continues to hit its stride, North Beaufort is still focused on driving its momentum from the defense.

“Once again, it all revolved around our pitcher,” Keech said. “(Tuesday) it was Ryan Cornelius. He pitched a one-run ball game with, I’m guessing, nine strikeouts and one walk.”

Ryan Cornelius throws to an opposing batter on Tuesday evening. Thanks to his effort, the rest of North Beaufort’s defense didn’t have a very busy night.

The idea is that limiting the other team’s scoring chances gives the offense some breathing room and allows it to settle in. However, thanks to Cornelius’ performance on the mound, the defense behind him didn’t have a busy night on Tuesday.

“We didn’t see a whole lot of defense because there weren’t a whole lot of balls hit,” Keech said. “I think they had one good hit. … On (Monday night), they had to play awesome defense.”

Now North Beaufort has a shot at the tournament title on Thursday at 6 p.m. The game plan at this point is to take everything the team has done well and maintain it.

“I can say we’re steady right now,” Keech said. “We’ve played two tournaments and I’m not going to say we can’t get any better, but we’re playing well as a team right now.”