East Wake baseball coach Derek Matthews said his focus this summer would be on pitching as his team competes in the Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League.
On the mound Wednesday evening at Bunn, rising senior Aaron Platts did enough with his arm to please Matthews’ eye. Beyond that, not much went East Wake’s way in a 7-3 loss.
“Aaron threw well tonight,” Matthews said after the game. “This was his first time throwing all summer, and he’s going to be throwing a lot for us next year.”
The six-footer contributed mostly in the outfield during the spring season with the high school team. Debuting his right arm against Bunn, Platts showcased decent speed and premier control of his pitch. Most notable were his consistency and coolness under pressure.
“We made some plays behind him,” Matthews started, “but we put him in some situations that he shouldn’t have had to be in tonight.”
Those situations included several fielding errors. East Wake’s defense misfired several times through the seven innings pitched by Platts, allowing Bunn to stay at bat for extra hits and runs when the side should have been retired.
Run support lagged, too, partially due to base-running errors that occurred twice when East Wake was caught on the wrong end of a rundown.
“I mean, people have off nights but ... the way summer ball is, we don’t have all our players here,” Matthews said. “We’re shuffling players around positions they’ve never played in. Hitters that aren’t used to hitting were hitting for us tonight.”
Although Platts gave up more than 10 hits and the 7 runs, not all of them were earned. He walked few batters and struck out a couple. It was a losing effort valiant enough for the opposition to take notice.
“I thought (Platts) did good,” Bunn head coach Chris Collum said. “He threw a lot of strikes, too. As far as missing our bats, he did a good job. And he did a good job pitching around the meat of our lineup.”
Collum, too, said East Wake’s inefficient fielding took the greatest toll on the visiting team.
“The defense let him down a few times behind him,” Collum said. “Passed balls, I think, really are what cost him quite a few of his runs. We had a lot of free bases.”
The East Wake player that stood out the most to Collum was shortstop Justin Torres, who was walked in his only two at-bats of the game but scored East Wake’s first run in the fourth inning on a Davis Cockrell RBI single.
“The shortstop did a great job fielding the middle,” Collum said. “That kid impressed me in both nights that we’ve played him.”
Torres says his strategy is simple in the infield. He works hard to get to the ball and once there he focuses on making a good, strong throw. His tactics at the plate are equally straightforward.
“Stay back and be more aggressive,” Torres said.