Playing on his home field, White, a rising Etowah senior, threw fastballs for strikes to keep the Spikes off the scoreboard early. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays established control with timely hits and smart baserunning, scoring two runs in the first, one in the third, three in the fourth and two in the fifth.
“We had to throw strikes and use a lot of team speed,” Blue Jays coach Chris Butler said. “This was a good win. We’re a young team with just three 18-year-olds.”
Rising Hillgrove senior Wesley Drain was 2-for-2 with two RBIs. East Paulding graduate William Patrick was also 2-for-2 with an RBI and upcoming Lassiter senior Cornell Nixon added an RBI hit.
East Cobb also got help from the Spikes with a pair of errors and nine walks from the Greenwood, S.C.-based team’s pitching staff.
White threw nine strikeouts over five innings and gave up just one walk and five hits. He worked to several full counts in the first three innings, but he survived them with just one hit and one walk.
“I was trying to throw low and get ahead in the count,” White said. “I didn’t have to mix up my stuff because they weren’t hitting my fastball (early in the game). But, once they caught up with my fastball (in the fourth inning), I had to mix things up toward the end.”
White did get a wakeup call with two outs in the fourth inning. After beginning the frame with back-to-back strikeouts with his fastball, Carolina’s Alex Rhodes came through a double to center, and Bradley Dixon followed up with a home run over the center-field wall.
White got out of the inning, however, by getting Kyle Turner to strike out looking on a full count. He then gave up two more hits in a scoreless fifth, which ended up being his final inning after his pitch count passed 80.
Recent McEachern graduate Adam Loewer worked the sixth in relief and got into a jam with a leadoff walk and a double. But the Blue Jays bailed him out with a 4-6 double play, and Loewer induced a pop fly to end the inning.
Even though the Spikes scored two runs in the fourth to get back in the contest, the Blue Jays didn’t push the panic button. They added two more in the bottom of the frame on a fielding error and a RBI double by Nixon that scored rising McEachern senior Aaron Morris.
East Cobb added three more runs in the fifth when the Carolina bullpen struggled to throw spikes. The Spikes gave up three walks in the inning — one with the base loaded — and added two more on an error and Brandon Moss hit.
The Blue Jays took a two-run lead in the first on a double down the right field line by Drain, who was thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple.
The Pool D game was the first of six pool-play games in the five-day tournament. East Cobb will play twice today against teams from Mobile, Ala., and Boynton Beach, Fla.