Panthers putting up staggering stats
Piedmont High's baseball team is putting up staggering numbers this season, averaging just over 10 runs per game while holding opponents to 2.4.
The Panthers carry a Union County-best 14-game winning streak into today's game at Central Academy.
Piedmont (14-1), ranked fourth in the 2A state poll by impactbaseball.com, has eight starters batting over .300 — including four who are hitting .400 or better.
As a team, the Panthers are batting .342..
Junior lefty Austin Harding didn't get many at-bats earlier in the season, but now he's the Panthers' hottest hitter.
Harding has eight hits in 13 at-bats this season, giving him a .615 average. He's also drawn four walks and has an on-base percentage of .706.
Harding plays first base when Jonathan Caldwell pitches, and was also the designated hitter during the Griffin-Toxey Classic last week.
"I'm real pleased with how Austin's playing for us," Piedmont coach Milt Flow said. "He's confident now and he's playing real well."
Junior outfielder Nigel Hester is also putting up impressive numbers. Hester is batting .455 (15-of-33) with three triples and five stolen bases.
Hunter Jones, a junior shortstop, is batting .409 (18-for-44) with 16 runs and 14 RBI and senior center fielder Cameron Price is at .400 (20-for-50).
Price has five doubles, three triples and two home runs, giving him a team-high 37 total bases.
Seven Panthers have combined to hit 14 home runs, and the pitching staff has allowed just one homer.
Senior catcher Cody Purser has five, Colby Barnette has three and Hester, Colton Green, Corey Sikes and Hunter Purser have one each.
Cody Purser (.353 batting average) leads Union County in RBI with 23, while Price and Barnette have 17 each.
Hunter Purser, a senior left fielder, is hitting .326 with five doubles and senior second baseman John Elwood (Pfeiffer signee) is at .320.
Barnette, a senior third baseman who has signed with UNC Chapel Hill, pulled his average up to .306 after going 4-for-9 in the Griffin-Toxey Classic.
Barnette hit .426 as a junior, when he made all-state.
"I was trying to do too much earlier in the year," Barnette said after being named MVP of the tournament last week. "I was too anxious. Now I'm staying back, waiting on something I can drive."
Barnette has also pitched 16 innings this season and hasn't allowed an earned run. He's 1-0 with a save and has struck out 15 against five walks.
As a staff, the Panthers have a remarkable 1.05 ERA.
Sikes, a junior lefty committed to Western Carolina, has a 4-0 record with a 1.15 ERA. Sikes has pitched a team-high 24.1 innings, and has struck out 35 while walking 13.
Caldwell (Limestone signee) is also 4-0 with a 1.03 ERA over 20.1 innings (18 strikeouts, 10 walks).
Price has also stood out on the mound with an 0.74 ERA. Price is 3-1 with two saves in 19 innings, and has 28 strikeouts against seven walks.
Price, Sikes, Barnette and Caldwell each have a complete-game shutout.