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By Troy Treasure
North Shelby received early gifts and took advantage against visiting Highland on Thursday, April 15.
Casey Shockley pitched a two-hit shutout with nine strikeouts as the Raiders (4-2) blanked the Cougars (0-7) 11-0 in five innings at Gene Tuggle Memorial Field.
J.D. Rich went 2 of 3 at the bat with two RBI and scored three runs for NS.
North Shelby head coach Scott Gaines was pleased with the bounce-back win after losing to Scotland County 9-5 on Tuesday.
“Defensively, we didn’t have any errors, Casey threw strikes,” Gaines said. “When Highland put the ball in play, we made plays behind him. So, the focus and the effort from start to finish was much better tonight.”
Shockley is the Raiders primary catcher. When he pitches, No. 1 hurler Rob Uhlmeyer is behind the plate. Shockley was asked if he approaches a pitching assignment differently.
“Nope. When I come out to the mound I just get locked in,” he responded. “It’s no different to me, just out here playing the game I love.
“Behind the plate, you’ve got to know everything, see everything,” Shockley added. “As pitcher, your job is to throw strikes.”
The Raiders scored four times on two hits in the first inning, aided by four Highland errors.
Rich walked, stole second base, advanced on an error and scored on Uhlmeyer’s sacrifice fly to center field. Shockley’s RBI single plated Kyle Smith. Shockley and Josh Hunolt scored via Highland throwing miscues.
North Shelby tacked on a single run in the second inning on Hunolt’s RBI single.
The Raiders added four more in the third.
Justin Lunsford and Luke Schwanke started the inning with singles and were driven home on Rich’s two-RBI single to center field. Rich scored on Smith’s RBI double to center. NS added an unearned run to lead 9-0.
North Shelby tacked on a pair in the fourth.
Landon Bender made the score 10-0 on Schwanke’s RBI sac-fly to right. Rich immediately followed with a double down the left field line. Uhlmeyer drove him in with a single to center.