Cole Throws No-Hitter Against Vikings
With the way baseball has become in this era of pitch clocks, bigger bases, home run or bust offense, games that go by so quickly that you can miss half the game by going to get a hot dog, and ghost runners in extra innings, it is nice to occasionally get back to the basics. There is no better place to get back to the basics than a high school baseball field – especially when that field is a historical place like Duncan Park.
Nowadays, starting pitchers often fail to go more than 5 innings, and home runs are so common that they almost fail to even be worth being impressed by anymore. But, there are a couple of things that are still as rare as finding a golden unicorn – a complete game and a no hitter. For Boiling Springs ace Jackson Cole, they got both on Monday night.
The Boiling Springs Bulldogs have been on an absolute tear since dropping their first region series to Dorman early this season. After that series in which the Bulldogs struggled to produce at the plate in back to back games that got away from them, Coach Jeff Lipscomb had a long chat with his guys and had them running sprints in the outfield afterwards. In all honesty, nobody but those that were in that huddle after the game know what he said, but one cannot deny that ever since, his Bulldogs have been on a mission. They responded by sweeping Byrnes and Gaffney over the next 2 weeks to jump into the drivers’ seat for the region title.
Much of that success has been due to them getting back to the basics – good pitching, good defense, and hitting that is not trying to do too much.
On Monday night, they began their final region series of the year with the Spartanburg Vikings, needing only to win the series to clinch the region title. Things got off to a good start as they struck for a run on 2 hits off Viking starter Emory Butehorn.
Spartanburg managed to tie it in the next half inning, cashing in on a leadoff walk to States Farr on a dropped fly ball in right that went for an E9 with 2 out. That one unearned run would be the extent of their offense for the night.
Before diving into Jackson Cole’s numbers from the no-hitter, let;s look at the Bulldogs’ offense. Remember when I mentioned getting back to the basics and not trying to do too much? That is the most accurate description for their approach tonight. Boiling Springs went down in order just twice in this game – the 2nd and 7th innings. They only struck out 6 times, and had just 1 extra base hit – a double down the left field line from Justin Dawkins in the top of the 5th. To add to all that, they drew 5 walks in the game.
All of that suffices to say that the Bulldogs did a great job of putting the ball in play and just taking what Emory Butehorn and the 2 other arms used by Spartanburg gave them. That approach led to some frustration early on, as they left 6 runners on base through the first 5 innings, only scoring twice with a runner in scoring position.
The tide turned in the 6th inning when Rylee Douglas drew a walk with 1 out, ending the night for Butehorn. After Landan Stevens went down swinging for the 2nd out, Hudson Wilson drew a walk to turn the lineup over. Luke Compton then started a string of 3 straight RBI singles that plated 4 runs and blew the game open.
While that inning was fun for the ‘Dogs, and Jackson Cole was a part of that offensive outburst with one of the 3 run scoring base hits and a run scored, he only needed the 2 runs they had going into the 6th to win it.
Cole went the distance, striking out 13 with 3 walks and allowing just the one unearned run. Take that error away, and you would have been able to add a complete game shutout to the night’s resume.
Jackson Cole, Jackson Reel, and Luke Compton led the way for the Bulldog bats, with all 3 logging a pair of hits. The Jacksons both had 2 RBIs while Compton logged 1.
The job is not done for the Bulldogs. Boiling Springs will be looking to clinch both the series and the region on Wednesday night in front of their home crowd, and likely will throw their ace Ian Squires, who is capable, along with the Vikings as a whole, of spoiling the party. First pitch in game 2 is set for 6:30 PM at Bulldog Park.