BUNN — Sister Sledge is not singing in the background, and Willie Stargell isn’t patrolling the field. But the theme is the same for the Corinth Holders baseball team: “We are family!”
Playing with unbridled enthusiasm for each other’s efforts from the first pitch to the final out, these Pirates rolled to an overwhelming, 7-0 victory over Bunn in a battle of Northern Carolina 2A Conference unbeatens.
The victory lifted the Pirates to 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the NCC, while Bunn slipped to 4-3-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play. The Pirates’ enthusiasm embraced the effort of hurler Dakota Amant throughout his complete-game effort, the defensive play of sophomore center fielder Bobby Beare, senior second baseman Jacob Rowe, as well as the offensive attack of the entire lineup.
Amant failed to strike out a batter in his stint, but handcuffed the Wildcats lineup, scattering five hits while giving up a pair of walks, much to the delight of coach Jeff Parker.
“In the first inning watching him pitch, I didn’t think he’d have the kind of code we are used to seeing,” Parker said. “But he kept the ball around the plate, and when he got behind in the count, he fought his way back. He always does a good job of fighting back, and once he starts getting the ball over the plate, his teammates are making the plays behind him.”
Beare was the first to come up with a big defensive play for the Pirates, making a diving grab of a flare to center field in the first inning, holding Bunn’s Nick Sanders at second. Sanders had opened the inning with a double, but failed to advance further.
Amant found himself in a jam in the third inning, with runners at the corners and one out. He enticed Nick Cole into a tapper to the mound, and quickly threw to third behind the Wildcats’ Braxton Lamm to third baseman Adam Evans, who chased down Cole to tag him out.
Bunn loaded the bases in the fourth with one out, but Amant easily retired the next two batters to get out of the jam. Rowe took the final wind out of Bunn’s sails with a leaping grab of a sizzling liner to open the sixth.
Offensively, the Pirates pounded out nine hits, paced by leadoff batter Brock Waynik’s 2-for-2 effort. Waynik reached base in his first three appearances, and gave the Pirates a 1-0 first inning lead by drawing a walk, then circling the bases on a two-base wild pitch from losing hurler Sanders, and a passed ball.
Corinth Holders added a three-spot in the second, on a single by Corey Shirk and doubles by Oakley Wallach and Waynik. Two insurance runs crossed in the fifth inning and another in the sixth with the Pirates clamoring at the fence in front of their dugout, urging their teammates for more.
Parker, who demanded enthusiasm from his charges even while Bunn was taking pre-game fielding practice, was more than pleased.
“Everything starts right here,” Parker later said, pointing from the barrier fence to the benches in the dugout.
“These guys are like a great big family. The enthusiasm they have this year is completely different from the first two years - we do everything as a family, and they’ve bought into it and are playing hard.”