by Chris Hunt
The SouthLake baseball team jumped out to a scorching 5-0 start to the 2011 season. But since then, the Eagles have cooled off, dropping two of their last three. After back-to-back losses to Covenant Day (March 17) and Caldwell Academy (March 21), SouthLake bounced back with a team-healing victory over Metrolina Athletic Conference rival Concord First Assembly, 17-5, on March 22.
Spencer Cole got the victory on the mound, going the distance for his third win in four decisions. Cameron Travis continued his hot streak with three hits in three at bats against Caldwell, including two doubles and a home run. He followed that up with a 4-for-4 performance against First Assembly, hammering two more long balls and collecting seven RBI’s. Conner Duncan was also 4-for-4 against First Assembly with two home runs and three RBI’s.
Despite the two-game losing streak, the Eagles still have an impressive list of victories, which speaks heavily toward the team’s potential. During the five-game win streak, SouthLake defeated local baseball powers Charlotte Catholic (5-4), Charlotte Latin (9-3), as well as Northside Christian (20-0), Gaston Christian (15-3) and Westchester Country Day (15-9). SouthLake baseball coach Rich Landis was especially proud of victories over 3A public school power Charlotte Catholic and Westchester, the No. 4 ranked team in NCISAA 2A baseball – albeit for different reasons.
“Westchester was big because they knocked us out in the semi-finals of last year’s state tournament and it set the tone for this year’s 2A playoffs,” said Landis, “but to beat a program like Charlotte Catholic, which was projected as a top team in the state, a team that people locally know as a good baseball team, was huge for our program’s (reputation).”
During the first five games of the season, eight Eagles posted on-base percentages above .400, including Jared Fortune (.545), who had five home runs and 16 RBI’s in the first five games. Newcomers Bobby Troutman and Conner Duncan have fit in quite nicely in the infield. Troutman had a team-high .615 on-base percentage and 9 walks after five games. All-conference pitcher/shortstop Nathan Sharp topped the team with 15 hits during that span.
Next up for the Eagles (6-2, 4-1 in the MAC) is a home game against Hickory Grove on Friday, March 25 at 4 p.m.