The Conway baseball team may have found itself a new starter.
That would be Bryce McCord.
Despite limited time on the mound this season, the right-hander went the distance against St. James as he struck out four and scattered four hits en route to a 6-3 win over the Sharks in a non-region game.
“You can’t say enough about Bryce,” Tigers coach Anthony Carroll said. “That was his first start of the year. He had thrown only three innings coming into this game. We were just hoping to get three or four [innings] out of him and go to the bullpen and try to get something else. But he did the job and you can’t say enough about his performance tonight.”
Carroll is confident after seeing McCord do well in a spot start that he could help Conway down the stretch.
“Anytime you lose two in a row, it’s nice to win one. It’s good to get that taste out of our mouth and hopefully it’s something we can build on,” he said. “The big thing is we found another pitcher that we feel now that can really help us down the road. We knew he could pitch, but tonight he took it to another level of us.”
McCord has faced some adversity, coming back from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for quite some time. Friday was certainly a good sign from his point of view, as well.
“I just got back from a shoulder problem and this is one of my first years back, so I’m feeling good right now,” McCord said, “and I feel good about what I’m doing. I’m pretty confident in myself [about pitching the rest of the season].
Conway was coming off two straight Region VI-AAAA losses, and McCord just wanted to prove that the Tigers could bounce back.
“After those two losses, we needed to come back and prove to people that we can battle back and can get the job done,” he said.
Conway scored two runs in the first inning and four runs in the third inning – highlighted by a G.K. Young RBI double – to give McCord a comfortable lead to work with.
“Just a big inning for us,” Carroll said. “G.K. got a big double then we got a squeeze down and some other big hits in there.
“ It was a good inning for us. That’s something we haven’t been doing lately is putting our hits together, but we did a better job with that the first three innings.”
St. James was led on offense by Anders DeShields (2-for-4), and Trent Revis (1-for-3, two RBIs).
“I thought we came out and weren’t inspired to play,” Sharks coach Robbie Centracchio said. “Conway is a good team and we should be fired up to play a team like that. I thought we were a little uninspired for a while there and it took a little while to get going.
“It’s a non-region game and in those games you’re going to have guys pitching that aren’t your starters for both teams. It’s a good chance to get some good swings in against a quality opponent; we just didn’t take advantage of that tonight.”
St. James starter Brock Gallagher received the loss as he tossed 2 2/3 innings, struck out one and scattered six hits and three walks.
“I thought he came out and changed speeds well,” Centracchio said. “They hit some balls hard and we just didn’t make very many plays behind him, and that kind of got to him.”
The Tigers will play next in the Mingo Bay Tournament as they take on Jamestown (N.Y.) at home on April 4 at 7 p.m.
“I’m just proud as heck of those 17 guys right there,” Carroll said. “They played their tails off tonight and I’m proud to be the coach of them.”