WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — As the first inning began in Game Two of the Wake Forest Baseball Fall World Series, my world suddenly became a bit distracted.
Chaundee Brown had just committed to Danny Manning’s Wake Forest basketball team, something that I figured may happen. . . early in the week. But Brown and his family loved the visit enough to go ahead and make the decision in person to the staff and all the sudden I was pulled both mentally and physically away from Wake Forest baseball.
By the time my attention was mostly back on baseball, Black and Gold were tied at 3 in the middle innings.
The Black team exploded for six runs in the top of the 9th to go ahead 2-0 in the series with a 9-4 victory over the Gold team.
Back-to-back homers by Stuart Fairchild and Gavin Sheets provided the 9th inning fireworks, Fairchild’s coming with the bases loaded against a gassed Ben Casstevens on the mound.
I spoke with Wake coach Tom Walter after the game was complete.
On being in gear calling balls and strikes during the games
Walter: “I’ve done it every year. You just learn a lot. You see things back there that you can’t see from the dugout. Which pitchers make adjustments. How their balls move. If they have deception on their breaking pitches. The hitters that make adjustments. There’s just things you can only see if you’re in there. I like getting back there and doing it.”
On the faux first inning with non-roster pitchers
Walter: “Michael Dimock is one of our former players, and he’s trying to hook on with a winter league team. He was here getting a little work. Allen Webster is here, and he’s a free agent right now. There’s been a couple teams in here the last couple of days wanting to get a look at him. He’s a friend of Michael’s, and he’s got a good arm. I’m sure somebody is going to give him an opportunity to play again. Anytime we can help out in those situations, we’re glad to do it. Plus it gives our hitters looks against professional pitchers, which makes them better.”
On what he liked during the scrimmage
Walter: “I thought we pitched it ok. I thought Rayne Supple did a good job. I was happy with his outing. I thought Shane Kubrak threw the ball pretty well, and Rhyse Dee threw it well, so I liked what we got from a couple of freshmen. Rayne gave up first and second with nobody out, and that’s a situation last year where the inning would have blown up, and he did a good job of keeping his team right where it was and giving them a chance to win the game.”
On the back-to-back home runs by Fairchild and Sheets
Walter: “I think Ben Casstevens just ran out of gas. That’s a little longer than he’s used to going. When he got into that third inning, he just ran out of steam a little bit. He hit a couple guys, then with the bases loaded was forced to put it in there and gave up the back-to-back homers. They’re not going to miss. With the bottom of the order, that might have been a popup, but when you’re facing Stuart and Gavin you’re not going to get many of those pitches back.”
On the catching position battle between Ben Breazeale and Logan Harvey
Walter: “You can play two catchers, and both those guys are good enough hitters that they will DH when they’re not catching. I expect both of those guys to be in the lineup every day. The last couple of years, Ben’s first two years, we weren’t able to give him much rest at all. Last year, we were able to give him some rest from time to time, but then Logan got hurt and Benny had to catch everything down the stretch again. I’m looking forward to this year and giving Ben more days off and letting him DH some to keep him fresher. We’ve got two great options back there, and I’m sure they’re going to split time and also DH.”