Price propels Piedmont into third round
Senior Cameron Price was perfect on the mound heading into the fourth inning and finished with a complete-game four-hitter during Piedmont High's 6-1 home win over Salisbury in the second round of the 2A playoffs on Tuesday.
Piedmont also played error-free defense for the seventh game in a row.
The Panthers, now 24-2 on the season, will play Trinity at home in the third round on Friday.
Price helped himself by drawing a two-out walk in the third inning. He took second on a wild pitch and then scored the first run of the game on Colby Barnette's RBI single that bounced over the head of the third baseman.
Jonathan Caldwell scored what proved to be the game-winning run after drawing a one-out walk in the fourth. After Cody Purser walked, John Elwood singled to right to load the bases.
Price flew out to shortstop for the second out before Barnette drew a bases-loaded walk that pushed Caldwell across the plate for a 2-0 lead.
It was all the offense needed for Price, who struck out five and didn't have a walk. He threw just 72 pitches and allowed a mere four base runners.
"Cameron said before the game 'If you guys give me some runs I'll give you relief pitchers the night off,'" said Piedmont coach Milt Flow. "I liked hearing that. He had a great game."
Price took the loss in the season-opener against Porter Ridge, but is 6-0 since with two saves.
The Panthers put the game away in the fifth inning. Junior designated hitter Austin Harding started a four-run rally with a hard-hit double to the fence in right-center.
Harding moved to third on Hunter Purser's single, then scored on Caldwell's RBI single up the middle for a 3-0 lead.
"It feels good to be in the third round," Harding said. "We've got good pitching and good defense. That's been the backbone of our team. I think the hitting will come around."
The Panthers finished with nine hits, including two each by Hunter Jones and Hunter Purser.
Hunter Purser scored in the fifth, putting his team up 4-0 when Cody Purser knocked him in with a single to right.
"I like the way our team sticks together," said Hunter Purser, a senior left fielder. "We needed a spark tonight and after Austin got that hit it sparked us."
Cody Purser's RBI single was Piedmont's fourth hit in a row in the fifth.
Elwood and Price drew back-to-back walks to load the bases with two outs, and Barnette reached on a two-base infield error that allowed Caldwell to score from third and Elwood to hustle around third and score for a 6-0 lead.
"We had real good base running tonight," Flow said. "John made a heads-up play to score that last run. We played great defense again tonight. The hitting will come around but we did put some hits together there in the fifth."
Brian Bauk, an Appalachian State signee, led Salisbury (11-14) with a 2-for-3 day.