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HomeHigh SchoolBombs away! Greene, Salinas, Ray lead Pioneers in 17-0 win over Allegheny

Bombs away! Greene, Salinas, Ray lead Pioneers in 17-0 win over Allegheny

By David Rogers. WILKESBORO, N.C. — Asked to choose the most impactful play in Watauga baseball’s 17-0 win over Allegheny in the third round of the non-conference tournament at West Wilkes, the answer might be one of several. And, truth be told, the Pioneers’ Maddox Greene likely was involved, directly or indirectly.

Was it Greene’s fielding a sharply hit ground ball and throw to first to get a third out in the first inning, with Allegheny having the bases loaded? Instead, they left three men stranded on base.

Was it Greene ripping a triple down the left field line at the start of the bottom half of the third inning? The ball rolled under the left fielder’s stab at it and rolled all the way to the fence. There might have been a temptation for Greene to try for an inside-the-park home run, but instead he was smartly satisfied with the 3-bagger.

Perhaps it was Greene scoring on teammate Tristan Salinas’ home run over the centerfield fence in the bottom of the fourth inning — on his first at-bat during the stanza. That put the Pioneers ahead 10-0 and the game subject to the high school “mercy rule” if only they could keep Allegheny from scoring in the top of the fifth.

Whit Shellman pitched three innings of 2-hit, no runs ball on March 9 vs. Allegheny at West Wilkes field. Three Watauga pitchers, including David Pastusic and Jameson Hodges combined for a 2-hit, 17-0 shutout. Photographic image by David Rogers

Then again, maybe it was Greene’s second at-bat in the bottom of the fourth inning as the team batted around.  That is when the sophomore shortstop sent a fly ball sailing over the centerfield fence for a grand slam home run, giving Watauga a 17-0 lead.

Finally, maybe it was when relief pitcher Jameson Hodges fielded a ground ball back to the mound, whirling 180 degrees and throwing to Greene for the force out at second, and Greene whipping the ball to first, completing a game-ending double play.  Game-ending, of course, because a 17-run deficit by the assigned home team (Watauga) after Allegheny had gone to the plate for the top half of the fifth inning had definitely triggered the high school “mercy rule.”

Greene, of course, was not the only Pioneer making an impact on this game. Watauga got home runs from Greene, Salinas, and Johnny Ray. In addition to Greene’s triple, the Pioneers saw doubles banged against the outfield fences by Hank Matthews, Cooper Riddle and freshman David Pastusic.

Not that the Pioneer runners had many opportunities with all the hitting behind them, but Jameson Hodges and Ray each had a stolen base.

In short, the Pioneers scored 17 runs on 9 hits, so there were a large number of walks and guys reaching base on errors, as well as one hit by pitch.

Seventeen runs scored, in and of itself, is pretty impressive but when you look at the other half of the final score, a zero, you also want to know that Watauga used three pitchers to obtain a 2-hit shutout. Senior Whit Shellman was the starter and pitched three full innings, giving up the two hits while walking two and striking out five. David Pastusic followed by pitching the fourth inning (no runs, no hits, 1 strikeout. And Jameson Hodges closed it out in the 5th inning (no runs, no hits, and two walks).

With the win, Watauga moves to 6-0 on the young season and currently ranked No. 4 in the state behind East Rutherford, Burns, and East Forsyth. They are ranked No. 2 in the NCHSAA 4A West region.

The Pioneers will host Mitchell on Monday, March 13 (6:30 p.m.) in the team’s first home game of the season, then Murphy will visit Pioneer Field  on March 15 (4 p.m.).

NOTABLE WATAUGA BATTING PERFORMANCES

  • Maddox Greene: 2-for-3, 3 runs scored, 4 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 HR (grand slam), 1 triple
  • Tristan Salinas: 1-for-4, 2 runs scored, 4 RBIs, 1 HR
  • Jameson Hodges: 1-for-3, 2 runs scored, 1 RBI, 1 stolen base
  • Johnny Ray: 1-for-3, 2 runs scored, 2 RBIs, 1 HR, 1 walk, 1 stolen base
  • David Pastusic: 1-for-2, 2 runs scored, 1 RBI, 1 walk
  • Cooper Riddle: 1-for-2, 2 runs scored, 1 RBI, 1 walk
  • Hank Matthews: 1-for-3, 3 RBIs
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