Austin Turner and Zack Johnson each had an RBI single to guide West Brunswick to the 2016 Touchstone Energy Beach Diamond Invitational Championship following a 2-0 victory against East Forsyth in Shallotte on Wednesday night.
The Trojans grabbed their second title in as many years over spring break and extended their win streak to 11 consecutive games. West Brunswick improved to 12-1 overall heading back into conference play next week.
“That was a good high school baseball game,” said West Brunswick Coach T.J. Spivey. “We talk about winning the week and to get three wins and get one in a playoff type atmosphere was big tonight.”
Junior pitcher Jonathan Carlyle battled through six shutout innings, allowing four hits and three walks, with nine strikeouts. The right-handed hurler threw 113 pitches before giving way to classmate Hunter Ashburn, who threw a perfect one, two, three inning in the seventh to earn the save.
Carlyle wiggled out of trouble in three separate frames as East Forsyth left nine runners on base, including five in scoring position. Landon Mitchell was saddled with the loss, surrendering two runs – one earned – on four hits in six innings of work.
“It’s huge to get the win,” Carlyle added. “I needed to bulldog through a couple of innings and tried to hit my spots and pitch to contact.”
The Trojans plated the game’s first run in the bottom of the second after Tyler McDuffie reached on a throwing error to start the inning. A sacrifice bunt by Carlyle moved him to second and Turner smacked a base hit to left-center to give West Brunswick a 1-0 lead.
Johnson added a big insurance run in the sixth after Tristan Lewis hit a lead-off single. The Trojans’ shortstop stole second, while Johnson belted a one-out RBI base knock on the first pitch of his at-bat to give the home side a two-run cushion.
West Brunswick’s result also spoiled the return of former assistant Drew Dull. Dull is in the middle of his first season as head coach at his alma mater after getting hired at East Forsyth late last school year. The Eagles won five in a row before dropping Wednesday’s contest.
“We knew what we were going to face tonight and just needed to execute,” said Dull. “Being in the third base dugout was definitely a little different. It’s like the Hilton over in the home dugout and clubhouse, but it was good to be back at the beach. They’re a tough team. It was hard to leave last year and they have some great kids at West.”
Moving back into league action, the Trojans will take a few days off before returning to practice early next week. West Brunswick is 2-0 in conference heading into games against Ashley (April 5) and New Hanover (April 8).
“We definitely need to fine tune some things when we get back,” Carlyle said. “But, I think this can carry over into the next game and that’s the approach we need to have. We need to get better each day and focus on the game ahead and not look past that. The mood of the team is good and I think we can compete with anybody when we play our game. The best baseball is still ahead of us.”
Box score R H E
East Forsyth 000 000 0 0 4 3
West Brunswick 010 001 X 2 4 2
LOB_W. Brunswick 4; E. Forsyth 9; 2B- Tyler Stanley; RBI-Austin Turner, Zack Johnson
W. Brunswick IP R ER H BB SO
Jonathan Carlyle (WP) 6 0 0 4 3 9
Hunter Ashburn Sv 1 0 0 0 0 1
E. Forsyth IP R ER H BB SO
Landon Mitchell 6 2 1 4 1 7