Southeast Guilford won a pitching duel in the semi-finals of the 2019 Farm Bureau Invitational on Thursday night over Western Alamance at First National Bank Field in Greensboro.
The Falcons were the visiting team and their lead-off batter, TJ Ash, smashed the first pitch he saw over the center fielder’s head to start the game. Ash moved to third base on a ground ball by Isaiah Rhem, and scored when the Western Alamance shortstop bobbled a line-drive by Jake Jenkins-Cowart.
The early run by Ash would prove pivotal, as it would be the only one of the game.
“When you’re the visiting team and you go out and put a run up, it immediately puts pressure on the other team,” Southeast head coach Dave Beasley said.
“He has been our most consistent hitter,” Beasley said of Ash. “He barrels the ball up really consistently. With him in the leadoff spot for us, it has really made a difference.”
The Falcons flexed their muscles again and loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the fourth inning. But Western Alamance’s Will Martin settled down and made the pitches he needed to get the Falcons out without giving up another run.
Beasley admitted he was frustrated by the fact that his team had runners on the bases with none out and couldn’t execute.
“We took the pressure off of them,” he said. “You can’t do that in high-caliber baseball and be successful. Luckily we had a stud on the mound who went out and threw a shutout, and we played good defense.”
The Warriors threatened in the bottom of the fifth inning when they had the tying run on third with one out. The Falcons’ Douglas was able to shut the Warriors’ offense down to keep them from scoring.
“I felt great and was able to hit spots and throw strikes,” Douglas said of the victory.
“I wanted to keep throwing strikes, throw to contact. I wasn’t trying to blow anyone away and wanted to let my defense work behind me. They did a pretty good job tonight.”
Douglas racked up the win, throwing a complete game shutout. He gave up three hits, struck out seven, and walked just one.
Will Martin, Warriors pitcher, gave up one run with none earned, and seven hits. He struck out seven and didn’t issue a single walk.
With the victory, the Falcons return for the championship game which is scheduled to be played tomorrow evening. Pending rain could change the time and date of the game, but the teams are set.
The Falcons will face the Wesleyan Trojans for the second straight year and Southeast will be “looking for redemption” Douglas said after they fell to Wesleyan 10-0 in last year’s game.
Southeast improves to (17-5) overall on the season with the win.
Western Alamance drops to (14-9) with the loss.