When Brian Alderson brought in one of his former college players to throw his team some batting practice on Monday, he knew there would be some deficiencies in the actual application between Frankie Everitte — now an equipment rep — and West Florence’s George Floyd.
“Frankie doesn’t throw as hard as Floyd,” the Chiefs coach joked.
Alderson was able to poke fun at Everitte because North Myrtle Beach walloped the Knights 10-2. The Chiefs dismantled Floyd over the course of three-plus innings, hitting the ball hard and taking advantage of a rare off-control night from The Citadel signee.
First baseman Burgess Gurganus was three-for-four with a double off the centerfield wall, three RBIs and two runs. Leadoff batter and catcher J.J. Velez reached base three times and scored twice. Shortstop Jomar Lugo scored twice and had an RBI.
And every North Myrtle Beach starter reached base and either scored a run or knocked one in.
It was, in every sense of the season, the Chiefs hitters showing that they’re getting more comfortable against a region loaded with top-end pitching bound for the college and possibly professional levels.
“We’re getting better hitting because we’re seeing more pitches and getting more at-bats,” Gurganus said. “[At the beginning of the season] I think everyone was a little bit rusty because of COVID. Now, we’re back in the groove.”
Slowly, more of those run totals have come at a more frequent pace around the region. And although West was on the receiving end of it Tuesday, coach Josh Brown understood why, too.
“We’ve seen it all. Nobody’s going to be intimidated by anybody,” he said. “We’ve seen it. We know what’s coming. Everybody’s got good arms. You just have to take advantage of your opportunities when you get them.”
West scored both of its runs against the Chiefs in the opening inning off starter Billy Barlow, the Clemson signee who is drawing his share of professional scouts. From there, though, Barlow settled down. Between the second and sixth innings, he faced just three batters over the minimum. One of them reached on an error, another on a passed ball after a strikeout.
He finished the game with 10 strikeouts, one walk and four hits allowed.
Along with a South Florence win over Hartsville Tuesday, it helped muddle up Region VI-4A even more. North Myrtle Beach currently stands at 7-2 in region play heading into Friday’s return game at West Florence, while Hartsville, South Florence and West Florence are all now 5-2. Myrtle Beach, 3-4 and with another highly winnable game on Friday against Wilson, isn’t far behind.
Almost assuredly, three teams from the region will make the playoffs (two automatic qualifiers, one at-large). An offensive boost from any of them could pay dividends.
Alderson believes another one or two of those games is possible.
“In football, usually at the beginning of the season, defenses are ahead of offense. In baseball, pitchers are usually ahead of batters because they just ain’t seen it enough,” Alderson said. “As the season goes on, you see more breaking balls, you see more velocity. Kids start getting used to those types of arms they see every day.”