from Jerome Richard at the Burlington Times-News and at www.thetimesnews.com:
GRAHAM — The Burlington-Graham Post 63 baseball team reminds one of a patient
who sometimes follows doctor’s orders and sometimes doesn’t. When the orders are
followed, the result is usually good. When ignored, things can go haywire.
Saturday night at Tom Zachary Field, Burlington-Graham followed orders, in this
case the admonition of manager Johnny Slaughter to be more productive
offensively. The result was a doubleheader sweep of Thomasville-Davidson County
Burlington-Graham won the opener 15-7. It claimed the nightcap 13-0 in five
innings by the 10-run mercy rule. Both games were Area III Northern Conference
contests scheduled for seven innings because of the doubleheader.
The first game was a rain makeup from earlier in the season and
Thomasville-Davidson County was the home team. The second game was the
regular-season meeting with Post 63 the home squad.
Combined, Burlington-Graham pounded 23 hits in the two games. That offensive
output came on the heels of an eight-hit loss to Surry County. After that game,
it was gut-check time for Post 63.
“We talked (Friday) night that we wanted to be more productive offensively,”
Slaughter said. “I think in our last three games we averaged something like two
runs. We wanted to get more offensive production.”
Jack Metcalf, who stroked three doubles in the two games, said the key for Post
63 was, “showing up and being ready to play. (Friday) night we weren’t here as a
team. (In Saturday’s doubleheader), we played as a team and we were focused.”
In the second game, Post 63 (8-9 overall, 7-7 conference) hammered two
Thomasville-Davidson pitchers for five hits and 10 runs in the first inning on
the way the 13-0 shelling.
The scoring eruption provided starting pitcher Scott Ellington with a
comfortable cushion in his first start of the season for Post 63 after coming up
from the Junior American Legion.
The rising junior at Williams High School had a no-hitter through three innings.
He finished with a two-hitter. He struck out the first three batters he faced
and finished with five strikeouts and one walk.
“I was really nervous,” he said. “I felt a lot better after the offense got
those runs. I didn’t realize that (I gave up only two hits). I was just trying
to throw strikes. I knew I had a good defense behind me and the lead gave me a
comfort level in case I gave up any runs.”
The decisive first-inning was highlighted by Lee Haithcock’s two-run double and
a two-run single by Adam Gunn(Eastern Guilford). Two runs crossed the plate on wild pitches as
pitching-thin Post 284 struggled on the mound.
It used a couple of pitchers who hadn’t been on the rubber in a long time and
was hamstrung by injuries and pitchers on vacation.
“When you go into a game without pitchers, you do what you have to do. Credit
Burlington, they hit the ball,” Thomasville-Davidson County manager Dale Mose
said. “When we fell behind 10-0, I don’t want to say we quit, but it’s hard to
Post 63’s Eddie Sappelt(Southern Alamance) ripped a triple in the game and Metcalf, Haithcock and
Snipes each had a double.
In the opening game, Burlington-Graham used the first inning as the launching
pad. It scored four times in the first as Gunn, Logan Thornton(Burlington Williams), Haithcock and
Avery Booker(Western Alamance) drove in runs.
Leading 6-3, Post 63 added four runs in the fifth as Metcalf and Haithcock drove
in runs. Haithcock was 3-for-5 and missed hitting for the cycle when he didn’t
get a home run.
“Everyone put pressure on me for the cycle,” Haithcock said. “I haven’t been
hitting very well. You could tell we wanted to get hits since we didn’t have
many (Friday) night.”
John David Slade and Thornton belted back-to-back homers to lead off the
seventh. Dallas Baldwin(Burlington Williams) picked up the pitching victory as he went the distance.
“Baldwin is a gutsy pitcher,” Slaughter said. “He mixed his pitches well and
kept the ball in play.”