There was a lot of new on the field for Garner’s baseball team Tuesday. The Trojans had a senior making his starting debut on the mound and a freshman face at shortstop.
In between there was just enough timely production from veterans and new faces alike to take a 4-1road victory in eight innings over West Johnston.
Senior right-hander Wyatt Godwin and junior Colin Pippin combined on a five-hitter, handing West its second consecutive loss.
“Wyatt Godwin is somebody we thought we might rely on coming into the season,” Goffena said. “But he suffered an ankle injury right after practice started and we’ve been working to get him back since. He obviously prepared himself well and really excelled tonight. It was an exceptional effort.”
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Godwin threw 89 pitches and worked into the sixth with five strikeouts and two walks before giving way to Pippin. He gave up just one hit, striking out three.
“Colin, we knew he was going to be one of our main guys, whether that’s as a closer or a second starter, we’re still working out,” Goffena said. “We just thought it was the right time to bring him in tonight. He pitched very well too.”
Garner (1-2 overall, 1-0 Greater Neuse River 4A Conference) loaded the bases in the eighth with two outs. Jeff Yokley and Brandon Wright drew two-out walks before Tyler Gillespy did the same. That brought junior Trevor Blalock to the plate.
And he came through with a slap single to right field that scored pinch runner Brodie West and Gallogly easily, while Gillespy came home when the throw from the outfield sailed to the backstop, giving Garner a 4-1 lead.
“I really liked how a lot of guys did little jobs tonight,” Goffena said. “We brought some guys in to do specific jobs at important times and they were able to get it done.”
Blalock was the hitting star of the night, going 4-for-5 and collecting two-thirds of the Trojans’ total hit count.
“Things started really slowly this year and we’re still trying to find ourselves,” Goffena said. “We made a big lineup change tonight, putting a freshman (Tyler Gillespy) at shortstop, moving a senior (Nick Gallogly) to do it. But Nick was right on board with the move and he made some plays at third base and second for us tonight, scored that third run in the eighth on pure hustle.
“He accepted the role he had with the utmost of class.”
Garner forced extra innings after it pushed across a run in the fifth with two walks and a bunt single by Trevor Blalock loaded the bases with one out. Jack Elliott’s ground ball out brought home Gallogly for the run that would force extra innings.
The Wildcats (3-2, 1-1) took a 1-0 lead in the third when Noah Liles drew a bases loaded walk, but West lef the bases loaded.
West had base runners in each of the last four innings but were never able to add to their run tally.
“We just didn’t get the big hit,” said West Johnston coach Joey Worley. “We had some chances early but didn’t get on top. We’re really struggling at the plate, which is something I didn’t think would be an issue.
“We just haven’t been the hitting team I thought we would be or the team we were last season so far.”
The Wildcats hope as the schedule gets more normal — they had just two days of normal outside practice this season as of Tuesday’s game — they’ll get the chance to fine tune things.