Piedmont sweeps, runs win streak to 17
There was plenty at stake when Jonathan Caldwell took the mound for Piedmont High on Wednesday night.
The Panthers carried a 16-game winning streak into the home game against Pageland (S.C.), and Caldwell was trying to stay undefeated as a pitcher.
Caldwell also had another reason to really want the win. He's from Pageland and two years ago he played summer league baseball with most of the players on the current roster — including his first cousin, junior Sam Caldwell.
Jonathan won bragging rights, and improved his record to 5-0 on the season by going the distance in an 8-5 win over Central.
"In the summer time I hang out down there a lot so it was a big game for me," Caldwell said. "I know all the players and coaches."
Central sent all nine batters to the plate in the first and scored three times. The Eagles had four hits in the inning, including a two-out, two-RBI single by Trey Sowell.
"After that first inning Caldwell settled in," said Piedmont coach Milt Flow. "He got stronger as the game went along."
Caldwell threw 115 pitches, and wanted to finish.
"His pitch count was getting up there but he came to me and told me he wanted to finish it," Flow said.
Piedmont bounced back with four runs in the bottom of the first.
Senior second baseman John Elwood led off with a standup double — a one-hopper off the fence in left.
After Colby Barnette walked and Hunter Purser reached on an infield single, Hunter Jones belted a two-RBI double to pull his team to within 3-2.
Austin Harding also knocked in two runs for Piedmont, giving his team the lead for good.
Piedmont went ahead 6-3 in the second when Elwood and Cameron Price reached on a pair of one-out singles and Barnette doubled to score both.
Central catcher Robbie Burch led off the third with a triple and later scored to make it 6-4. Burch finished with three of his team's eight hits.
"They're a good team," Caldwell said. "They can swing it."
After Central pulled to within 6-5 in the top of the fifth, Piedmont answered with two runs.
Nigel Hester opened the bottom half with a walk and eventually scored on Caldwell's second hit of the day. His pinch-runner, Cory Sikes, came around to score on Elwood's two-out single to right.
Piedmont had 14 hits on the night. Elwood finished 3-for-4 while Barnette, Jones Harding and Caldwell each had two hits.
Piedmont is now 17-1 on overall after going 14-15 a year ago.
Caldwell and the Panthers are proud of their winning streak.
"It's a big deal," he said. "It's a lot better than where we were last year."
Piedmont 14, CATA 1
MONROE — Before driving back to their home field to face Pageland in a 7:15 start, the Panthers won the first of an away-home doubleheader by defeating Central Academy 14-1 in Walter Bickett Stadium.
Elwood was 4-for-4 with a double and a triple against the Cougars and Hester went 3-for-4 with two doubles.
Barnette and Jones added two hits each against CATA.
Jones, a junior shortstop, is 8-for-11 this week — pulling his season average up to .473.
Piedmont will put its win streak on the line Friday with a trip to Oakboro.
"West Stanly's a really good team," Caldwell said. "We have to go up there focused."