April 10, 2010 11:02:00 PM
A little more than a week ago, West Point High School baseball coach Buddy Wyers laid it on the line for his players.
Following an 11-4 district loss to New Hope, Wyers said he knew the Green Wave was a good baseball team and that his players needed to believe in themselves.
If they did, Wyers said, the results would come.
"They have to be mentally involved every pitch, and we''re not that way," Wyers said. "If they ever understand that and want to correct some of this other stuff, I think we will get over the hump, I hope."
West Point showed the past two nights it could be ready to take the next step.
Buoyed by a victory at Oxford on Friday, its first in the district, West Point used a two-run home run by DaMichael Brown, a two-run single by Dalton Davis, and a solid relief outing by Davis to earn a 5-3 victory against West Lowndes.
On Friday, West Point (1-5 in Class 5A, Division 2, District 1) used a four-run seventh inning to get an 8-4 win on the road. Tommy Keys had an RBI double and Dalentez Pulliam had an RBI single in the seventh to help make a winner out of Brown. Nick Phyfer had a single and a double, Davis had a single and two RBIs, Edward Cox had a single and two RBIs, Brandon Edwards had a single, a double, and an RBI, and Freddie Reed had a single and three RBIs to prove what other coaches had been saying: West Point is a good team and it was going to beat somebody in the district.
The victory was even more impressive considering West Point lost to East Webster on Thursday in disappointing fashion. Wyers said the team showed maturity in being able to rebound from a game in which it was one hit away from getting a 10-run lead to possibly invoke the mercy rule.
The Wolverines then rallied for eight runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 12. East Webster then used a leadoff walk in the bottom of the seventh to earn a come-from-behind 13-12 victory.
Wyers said it was rewarding to regroup from that loss and beat Oxford, especially for his players who come out and work hard and do the things they''re supposed to do.
On Saturday, West Point had just enough timely hitting and key pitching.
Leroy Calvert pitched 1 1/3 innings in relief of Keys to get the victory. Davis allowed only three hits and walked one and struck out three.
"(Davis) pitched very well," Wyers said. "If there is any kid on our ballteam who has been very, very solid offensively, defensively, and now on the mound, it is Dalton Davis. ... He has been phenomenal. He did well today to come in and throw strikes. The name of the game from a pitching standpoint is you have to make the guy hit the ball. He did a fantastic job."
West Lowndes coach Todd Stanley lamented his team''s inability to put things together. The Panthers (3-7) received a solid pitching performance from Demetrius Malone. The senior right-hander allowed just six hits in a complete-game effort, while striking out nine and walking six.
"He has never pitched before, but he will do what the team needs," Stanley said. "I wish I had a team full of (Demetrius Malones). I thought it was one of the best pitching performances we had. I was proud of him. He pitched well enough to win. I thought we should have hit their pitching a little better than we did."
But Malone''s control worked against him in the second, as he issued a one-out walk to Keys and two-run home run to Brown to right field that made it 2-0.
West Point didn''t score again until the sixth. An infield throwing error allowed Brandon Ewings, who doubled to start the inning, to score. Brown took second on the error but was thrown out trying to steal third.
Wyers took the blame for potentially preventing a big inning, but Pulliam helped his coach get out of the doghouse with a two-out double. Phyfer was hit by a pitch to set the stage for Davis, who smacked a 3-2 pitch to left field to score two more runs.
West Lowndes answered in the bottom half of the inning. Tyquan Lucious doubled and scored on a one-out double by Malone. But Davis struck out Ryan Stowers on a 3-2 pitch and retired Andra Farmer on a pop up to end the threat.
"Today we had some guys on base with the heart of our order coming up and we just didn''t come through," Stanley said. "We''re depending on about five guys to come through for us. When they come through, we''re fine, but we''re looking for four or five more to go with them.
"It has been frustrating this year. We either have a good pitching and defensive game and no hitting, or we hit and don''t pitch and play defense. We don''t know how to win, and it is frustrating."
Stanley said the rest of the season has gone the same way. On Friday, West Lowndes dropped a 10-9 decision to Calhoun City in a Class 2A, Region 2, District 1 game. The loss slipped West Lowndes to 0-6 in the district.
Fredrico Moody (his fourth of the season) and Stowers (his first) each had three-run home runs, but it wasn''t enough.
"We''re taking our lumps and learning, I hope," Stanley said. "Hopefully we will be better."
West Lowndes only needs to look at West Point to see how much progress a team can make during the course of a season -- or, in this case, a week.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.