Havelock starting pitcher Josh Little had a simple plan.
“Throwing strikes and keeping the ball low,” Little said. “I was trying to no-hit them and give up no walks.”
Little came close. The right-hander gave up just two hits and struck out six as the Rams beat Swansboro 5-1 Friday at Havelock High.
“I’m real, real proud of our pitching,” Havelock coach Charlie Smith said. “We’ve had five games, and we’ve pitched well in all of them. Josh limiting them to one run, that was an awesome job. He had a couple of little lapses, but he pitched out of them.”
Havelock’s defense made one error, and eliminated Jordan Behan’s single in the sixth when shortstop Justice Provencher and second baseman Ryan Lewis turned a double play.
In the seventh, Little made quick work of the Pirates (3-1), setting down three batters in order, including one on a strikeout.
“I was ready to get home and get the win today,” he said.
Swansboro made three errors in the first two innings. Havelock (2-3) took advantage in the second when Will Blythe reached on an error and scored on another, giving the Rams a 1-0 lead.
“I was disappointed in our defense. We gave them six outs in the second inning,” Swansboro coach Rusty Ross said. “We did turn three double plays, but some of those routine errors put us in a hole.
“This guy (Little) pitched against us last time and only gave up one run, and when a guy’s that good on the mound, you can’t give them extra outs and put yourself in a hole.”
Leading 1-0, Havelock took control with a four-run fourth. Blythe tripled to right to lead off the inning, and after Swansboro starter Sean Burke got the next two batters and walked Provencher, Chris Toler dribbled an infield hit up the third-base line, scoring Blythe. Pharoh Cooper then pounded a ball into the wind into the right-center field gap for a two-run triple. Cam Carpenter singled to center to score Cooper, giving the Rams a 5-0 lead.
“He hit that ball,” Smith said of Cooper’s triple. “That ball was crushed into the wind. I couldn’t believe it kept going. I thought it was going to hang up.”
Swansboro tried to mount a comeback in the top of the fifth. Jon Iris, who had Swansboro’s only other hit with a single in the second, was hit by a pitch, and Tyler Bodnarik reached on an error. Both advanced on a wild pitch, and Iris crossed the plate on Nate Weickowski’s RBI groundout. However, the Pirates would get no closer.
“I think maybe this brings us back down,” Ross said of the loss. “We were 3-0 and you know you’re going to have some games where you boot the ball around. I think one of the main things is that we have to make the routine plays to win ballgames, because we don’t have the type of offense right now to come back and score three or four runs in an inning.”
Swansboro next hosts Pender on Saturday.
Havelock is next scheduled to open Coastal 3A Conference play by hosting D.H. Conley on Tuesday.