Pope, Eagles Master Warriors

 

In complete command through the entire seven, Patrick Pope deals from the mound. (Photo/Martha Ladd)

WINNSBORO – Senior Richard Winn righty Patrick Pope mastered the Spartanburg Christian Warriors Monday night, scattering four hits over seven innings for the complete game shutout, 5-0. Not only did Pope issue zero walks in the effort, he never served up more than two balls in the count against any Warrior batter. The lone freebie for the Warriors came when Pope plunked Caleb Painter with two outs in the second inning. The miscue cost the Eagles nothing, as Pope recovered to strike out Nick Edwards to end the inning and strand Painter at first.

“(Pope) is throwing two pitches for a strike, his fastball and his breaking pitch,” RWA head coach Al Berry said. “He’s throwing them for a strike and he’s locating them, too. He pitched really well.”

Pope also proved deadly with the bat Monday as well, going 2-for-4 in the leadoff spot. Pope’s leadoff double and Matt Taylor’s bunt single in the bottom of the first set the table for Austin Knox, who drove in Pope on an infield putout. Conrad Sharpe’s hard hit ball to second brought in Taylor, and Pope was staked to a 2-0 lead.

After reaching on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the second, Elijah Tucker came around on Taylor’s second single of the night, giving the Eagles a 3-0 edge. That’s where things would stay as Spartanburg Christian’s Hunter Gneisig battled from the mound. Gneisig labored through five innings, throwing 19 pitches in the first, second and fourth innings and 16 in the third. His best inning was his last when he retired the Eagles in order in the fifth on seven pitches. Gneisig tossed 80 pitches overall, 49 for strikes. He walked four, struck out four and gave up four hits in the loss.

Jordan Edney came in from right field to finish things off for the Warriors, and that’s when the Eagles tacked on the insurance. Hampton Caughman led off the sixth by drilling a 3-1 pitch back up the middle for a single. Cameron Cooper made Edney work for the first out, fouling off three of the five pitches he saw before grounding out to second and moving Caughman up to second. John Coleman also made Edney sweat, battling back from an 0-2 count to draw the walk. Pope then grounded out to third, bringing Taylor to the plate with two down and two on. Taylor took ball one, then lined the next pitch into center field for a 2RBI single and the 5-0 final.

“Matt got a big two-out hit for us, which helped us,” Berry said. “We had a chance early in the game to break it open and we had a couple of guys who had been hitting pretty well for us and they hit ground balls. That’s just baseball. They just missed some pitches. Of course, their pitcher was pitching decent, too.”

Taylor had the big night at the plate for the Eagles, going 3-for-3 with 3RBIs, a run scored and a walk. Taylor also stole three of the six bags swiped by the Eagles as RWA kept the base paths busy.

“We had to try to move them up some way,” Berry said of his fleet-footed Eagles. “We weren’t hitting that well. We had to get people in scoring position and hope we get a hit. It wasn’t like we were banging around and had a lot of big innings.”

Pope never really needed the insurance, however, as he cut through the Warrior lineup, facing a total of 27 batters and throwing 82 pitches, 60 for strikes.

The win puts the Eagles right behind Greenwood Christian in the SCISA 2A Region III standings. The Eagles traveled to Great Falls Tuesday and to Spartanburg Day School Thursday. Tonight (April 4) they host Newberry Academy at 7 p.m.

 

SCA – 0-0-0-0-0-0-0 – 0-4-0

RWA – 2-1-0-0-0-2-x – 5-6-3

WP: Patrick Pope (RWA). LP: Hunter Gneisig (SCA).

2B: P. Pope (RWA). LOB: SCA—6. RWA—7. SB: P. Pope, M. Taylor (3), B. Pauley, E. Tucker (RWA). H. Gneisig (SCA).

Time of Game: 1:36.

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