The season for the Roxboro Community School middle school baseball team ended in perfection — but the Bulldogs sure had to work hard to write that flawless final chapter.
The Bulldogs rode a strong pitching performance from Tyler White and stellar defense to a 4-1 victory against East Wake Academy Wednesday in the Central Carolina Middle School Conference tournament championship game.
RCS finished off a 13-0 season that included a CCMS regular-season title.
“It’s just unbelievable,” RCS coach Bryan Pleasant said. “You think as a coach you pick good players and we knew we picked a good team. To go 13-0, I would have never believed it. I told the guys, it might not mean as much now, but this is something that no one will ever take away from them. They might can repeat it, but as far as right now, they’re the best and that’s a great feeling.”
White picked up the victory after tossing all seven innings and giving up just four hits and no earned runs, while fanning eight. The eighth-grader retired 13 in a row after spotting the Eagles a 1-0 lead after the first inning and worked his way out of trouble in the late stages.
“Tyler hits his spots well, but when we made that adjustment, he adjusted too,” Pleasant said. “He went from a first-pitch fastball to a first-pitch off-speed. They are some really good batters and he knew not to throw that as a home run pitch.”
The defense behind White was outstanding, with only one error, and several nice plays — none bigger than the one to end the sixth inning.
With a runner on first and second, the Eagles got a base hit to left that was fielded cleanly by outfielder Garrett Sharer. Sharer threw it in immediately to third baseman Sam Wheeler who fired a strike to catcher J.D. Clayton to gun down the runner at the plate to finish off the sixth inning.
For Pleasant, seeing web gems out of his team is nothing new, but that one was mighty nice.
“That’s something we’ve done all year,” Pleasant said. “You think about the game at East Wake where the boys turned a triple play. Even as middle schoolers, we’re subject to make a few errors, but we can make some great plays. That relay from the outfield to get the guy at home, no one really thinks about it, but if we don’t make a good throw from the outfield, it never happen. We practice things like that. We practice making good throws and go to a spot. It might be middle school, but when they execute, it’s a thing of beauty.”
The Bulldogs got all the runs they needed in third inning. They took advantage of four walks and two hit batters, both with the bases loaded to take a 3-1 lead. Sharer drove in the other run in the third on a sacrifice fly to center.
Carver Pleasant, White, and Hayden Hester all worked deep in the count to earn their walks to start the inning.
“That’s something that Coach (Jim) Rhodes and Coach (Retrac) Lewis and I have talked about with them,” Bryan Pleasant said. “Don’t get in a hurry up there. It’s a long game, we can make it long at-bats and we were just trying to reinforce that and the boys did a good job with it.”
The Bulldogs padded their lead in the fifth when Jordan Benerosa squeezed Clayton home from third on the first pitch of his at-bat. Clayton led off the inning with a double to left-center.