Before the start of the high school baseball season, Sumrall coach Andy Davis knew that his pitching staff had a chance to be special. After a 6-0 win over Greene County on Thursday night, the Bobcats' staff has now thrown three straight shutout games and has kept opponents off the scoreboard for 24 consecutive innings.
The amount of talented arms Sumrall has at its disposal is like a video game. On the season, the staff now posts a 1.80 ERA and has struck out 155 batters while walking just 43.
"I didn't know what to expect command-wise," Davis said. "If you look at our stats, we haven't walked many guys. Obviously, walks can put you in binds and create big innings. I guess that's the thing I am most happy about. We don't walk very many hitters, and we have a lot of strikeouts."
As talented as the pitching is, another key variable, which isn't exactly seen in the box scores, is Sumrall's defense. The Bobcats easily took three hits off the board with stellar plays made by second baseman Ty Little, third baseman Landon Holliman and centerfielder Hayes Raner.
"Our defense is very good, and that helps the pitchers out," Davis said. "I've heard some of our pitchers saying 'When our defense is good. I'm just going to throw strikes,' and that makes a difference.
"We have made some great plays that get overlooked in the box score."
Taking the mound on Thursday was Levi Odom, who gave up just three hits and walked four batters while striking out 10, which according to Davis, was by no means the senior's best outing of the year.
It wasn't his best game," Davis said. "In the bullpen before the game, he had issues throwing the ball up. We worked on some release points, strikes and he brought it out there. He's a warrior and a bulldog. Tonight was not any close to his best pitching outing, and he gave up only three hits."
In the batter's box, Sumrall did the bulk of its damage in the second inning as the Bobcats plated five runs.
Sumrall drew a leadoff walk and then loaded the bases with back-to-back singles. Little drew an RBI walk which was followed by a two-run RBI single by Hayden Barrett. Marshall Phillips then hit an RBI sac fly, and then Hayden Nored was hit by a pitch to score the final run of the inning.
"Our bottom of the order stepped up right there," Davis said. "You like putting crooked numbers up in an inning. I wasn't real happy that we just sat out on that lead. It's a game that could have saved Levi 30 to 40 pitches if we would have finished it off (in a run-rule)."
While Sumrall was able to come up with nine hits, Greene County's left-handed reliever Garrett Henderson kept the Bobcat offense at bay for most of the night as he struck out four and scattered four hits.
"He shut us down for four to five innings," Davis said. "He kept us off balance. Anytime you bring a guy in that is a lefty and throws strikes, then it's tough to hit.
"We hadn't seen many lefty pitchers this year."
Sumrall added a late run in the sixth inning from an RBI single by Phillips, who finished the game 2-for-3 with two RBI and was hit by a pitch.
The Bobcats now move to 14-2 and 2-0 in region play, while Greene County dropped to 8-10 and 2-3.