Six-Run First Inning, Josh Pike’s Complete Game Shutout Advances Northern Guilford to Second Round of State Baseball Playoffs
It’s rare that you see a sophomore starting pitcher in the first round of the State Playoffs. Josh Pike showed everyone why Nighthawk’s Head Coach, Landon Kimrey, gave him the ball as the starting pitcher for the first round of the State Playoffs, against the Jacksonville High School Cardinals on Wednesday night. Pike gave the Nighthawks an amazing outing, pitching a complete game shutout.
Northern scored all of their six runs in the first inning, with the main offensive producer for Northern Guilford being Stan Dymek who went 1-3 at the plate. His only hit, a single, that drove in two Nighthawks to add to the lead in the first inning. Kevin Bell and Logan King also had an RBI each for Northern.
The big, six-run, first inning, gave Josh Pike a great cushion as he returned to the mound for the second inning. He dominated, and only one Jacksonville Cardinal reached third base the entire game. The Nighthawks sophomore pitcher went the distance, gave up four hits, walked two Cardinals, and struck out three.
“I didn’t feel my best, but did what it took to get the job done, and my 2-seamer was the pitch I had the most control over tonight, although everything was working well enough to get the job done.” Pike said about his first playoff shutout win.
When asked about his team’s victory, Northern Head Coach Landon Kimrey said “We came out ready to play. I told the guys we were going to see a good arm, everyone throws their number one pitcher in the first round. We hit well with two strikes, and that’s been an approach we’ve been preaching all season, and in the first inning we had four or five guys who had two strikes on them, that put the ball in play and made something happen. That was the difference in the game.” Kimrey added, “We played great defense behind Pike, throwing strikes, hitting with two strikes, and playing strong defense has been our team identity all year long. This is the best defensive team I can remember having here.”
Besides the rough first inning for Jacksonville starter, Ryan Thompson, he buckled down and only gave up one hit the rest of the game. He pitched all six innings for the Jacksonville Cardinals, giving up six hits, one walk and one hit batsmen, struck out six, and gave up six runs, five of those earned.
The score doesn’t really do justice to the pitcher’s duel the game turned into after Northern’s offense jumped on Jacksonville’s Thompson for six runs in the first inning. Both pitchers buckled down, and shut down the offense of their opponent.
When asked about his plan for the second round game, Coach Kimrey said “We don’t really have a number one. We look at (Josh) Pike and (Cameron) Cotter as our two guys. We decided to go with Pike tonight, and we’ll go put Cam out there Friday or Saturday, and go with the same approach we’ve come into games with all season.”
Another very talented Northern Guilford sophomore Cameron Cotter will get the start in the second round game, later in the week for the Nighthawks. The Nighthawk’s next game will be at home, either Friday or Saturday.