ASHEBORO — Scoring runs sure can make things easier for a high school baseball team. And so, entering play this week, Asheboro High School has made things pretty easy for themselves of late.
After scoring just four runs in losing to Randleman and edging Chatham Central, the Blue Comets scored 27 runs in their next three games and that has led to a 4-1 record heading into Mid-Piedmont Conference play this week.
Coach Brett Hoogkamp can only hope the offense continues as the league season unfolds.
“I think offensively, we’re a little further ahead than I thought we would be at this time,” Hoogkamp said after the Blue Comets used a nine-run third inning to fuel an 11-8 win over Eastern Randolph Friday at Kiwanis Park. “We got our basketball players late and really haven’t worked on it a ton. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the offense.”
AHS scored twice against Randleman in its opener, nipped Chatham Central 2-1 and then posted impressive wins of 9-0 over Uwharrie Charter Academy and 7-6 and 11-8 decisions over Eastern Randolph.
“The guys have done a good job of taking instruction and applying it to plate appearances.”
Leading the offensive charge is senior Tanner Marsh, a four-year varsity performer. Marsh is hitting .714 with two doubles, one triple, two home runs and six RBIs.
“He’s the catalyst that gets everything going,” Hoogkamp said. “He gets on base and he’s hitting for power. If he gets it going, I think we are going to do well with the top of our order.”
Marsh was certainly a catalyst against the Wildcats Friday. He had three hits, including a double and a three-run homer, and scored three times, reaching base in all four plate appearances.
Junior Amare Godwin is in the two hole and gives the Blue Comets excellent speed at the top of the order.
Other Blue Comets off to solid starts at the plate include Connor Adams, who is hitting .500 with three RBIs; Cohen Caviness, who is hitting .500 with a homer; Josh Meadows, who is hitting .333; and Chandler Macon, who is hitting .312. Davis Gore, Ben Luck and Sam Gore have also contributed to the offensive cause.
Of course, playing in the comfy confines of Kiwanis Park is far different than playing home games at a spacious McCrary Park, which is being renovated for the second straight spring.
“Over the last couple of seasons, we have had to learn to adapt and adjust to what you got,” Hoogkamp said. “A lot of our rounds now are focused on going backside and staying disciplined. We know a flyball out there, at least most of the ones that go out, are just a flyball everywhere else.”
Scoring runs can surely help a pitching staff as Marsh, Adams, Macon and Gore are expected to receive the lion’s share of the innings.
“If you want to make pitching easier, you have to score runs,” Hoogkamp said. “As a pitcher, you feel less stress and less thinking you have to make great pitches. We talk all the time about making runs for your pitcher so it makes it a lot easier.”
At least entering action this week, it certainly has.