Noftsger, Ferguson pitch Cats to pair of complete-game wins
BERRYVILLE -- Berryville improved to 5-1 on the season with a 6-2 win over cross-county rival Green Forest on Tuesday and an 11-3 thumping of West Fork on Thursday.
The Cats handled Green Forest despite being out hit 7-4.
"We didn't hit the ball very well," Berryville coach Matt Sayer said. "Their pitchers come right at you. They throw strikes and stay down in the zone. They made a couple of errors that cost them early. But that's the best team they've had in a while."
Anthony Noftsger struck out seven in the complete-game victory, fanning seven and issuing two walks. It was the second consecutive complete-game victory for the southpaw and fourth of the past five games for the Bobcats, including Tate Ferguson's complete-game showing against West Fork.
"We have to have these pitchers take it on their shoulders and go deep in games," Sayer said.
Avery Logan picked up the big hit, driving in three runs with a double in the third inning to put the Cats up 5-1.
"Arguably, that was the difference," Sayer said. "That is the kind of big hit you have to get. It was with two outs. It was a huge hit."
Clayton Watson singled home Treyton Anderson in the first inning to give the Tigers a 1-0 advantage. The Tigers added a run in the sixth and one in the seventh before Noftsger slammed the door.
"We weren't panicking by any means," said Sayer. "But I started to get a little uncomfortable in the last inning. We have to learn how to finish. We are letting teams stay in the game too long."
In Thursday's outing, Ferguson overcame a sluggish start to dominate West Fork. Ferguson surrendered three runs in the opening frame but settled in the rest of the way, giving up six hits, striking out 11 and walking none.
"Every time out he learns something and improves," Sayer said. "You can't ask for more from a kid. That's exciting to see out of a sophomore."
Berryville scored lone runs int he first and second innings and added three in the third before erupting for six in the fourth. Noftsger went 3 for 4, drove in two and scored one to pace the Cats at the plate. Jeff Adams added two hits and scored twice while driving in one. Leadoff hitter Austin Lehr drove in three runs and scored once while Matt Manley collected a pair of RBIs from the ninth hole.
"When your leadoff hitter is getting three RBIs the bottom of the lineup is doing their job," Sayer said. "That's what it takes to win."
The Cats struck out only four times and capitalized on nine free passes.
"We caught West Fork on a day where they have a conference game (today) and we didn't see their best pitching," Sayer said. "We had been struggling toward the top. The top of the lineup had to produce."
Berryville continues the season today at home against Blue Eye, MO. First pitch is slated for 4:30 p.m.