Smithfield: Sports

Pirates focused on four fundamentals

In looking forward to the homestretch of the baseball season, Corinth Holders’ first-year coach Adam Weaver expresses guarded optimism.

Four conference games remain on the Two Rivers 3A Conference schedule for the Pirates, who sit in third place in the conference standings, with a 4-2 record, one game behind co-leaders South Johnston and Erwin Triton. But in order to achieve hopes of reaching the NCHSAA playoffs, the Pirates will need victories in most, if not all, of those games.

“Hopefully, If we come out and play good baseball, we’ll have a chance,” Weaver said. “We have to hit. We have to pitch, we have to play defense and we have to make good decisions on the bases.”

If the Pirates’ performances in their two games of the inaugural Golden Leaf Invitational Baseball Tournament in Historic Fleming Stadium are any indication, Corinth Holders has a lot of work to do.

All four phases were lacking at times for the Pirates, as they absorbed a 7-3 loss Tuesday to Southern Pines Pinecrest, followed Wednesday by an 8-3 defeat at the hands of tournament co-host Wilson Fike .

The hitting phase was lacking for the Pirates Tuesday throughout the first four innings against Patriots hurler Hunter Phillips, who limited Corinth Holders to a pair of soft Texas League singles, while enticing five infield pop-ups, and three shallow outfield outs,

The Pirate bats came to life against relief pitcher Seth Caddell for three fifth inning runs, but were shut down in the final two innings by reliever Zack Maples.

Wednesday was slightly better, as the Pirates got first-inning singles from Oakley Wallrich, Tyler Barrett and Jake Lewis to even matters at 1, but struggled for the next four innings.

Again, Corinth Holders experienced success against a relief pitcher, with Robbie Storey and Cobi Taylor pounding out hits in a two-run seventh inning, and loading the bases on a pair of hit batsmen and an error before bowing.

“We have to have a better outlook at the plate,” Weaver said.

Pitching, particularly starting pitching struggled on the Pirates’ side, in the tournament.

Defensively, the Pirates were charged for seven errors over the two games, while Corinth Holders ran themselves out of a potential big inning in the first against Fike and in the fourth against Pinecrest, which compiled a 3-0 record in the event and was named the champion.

“I don’t think we were focused in any phase of the game,” Weaver said. “In the first half of the season (and in the tournament) we’ve let one mistake turn into two.

“In the second half of the season, we can’t let it (a mistake) effect us. We have to be able to look forward to the next play.”

Weaver is satisfied that his players have grown over the first half of the season, saying that everyone has certain roles to perform. He noted that all of the players were capable of leading the team, not just one or two individuals, and they had proven that in the first half of the year.

“We’re looking at everyone to continue to perform their roles,” Weaver said. “It’s been a struggle for us, but as the guys get more comfortable in what their roles are, the better we will be.”