AUXVASSE — Following two straight losses with North Callaway allowing 10 or more runs, the Thunderbirds shut down the Silex Owls on Wednesday in a 6-1 win.
Sophomore Davis Woods turned in a complete-game effort, allowing four hits, one run, two walks and striking out five Owl batters in the Eastern Missouri Conference game.
North Callaway coach Zeth Lavy said Woods' performance was a big help to the team with this game being its third in three days with another coming today against Moberly.
"We've kind of gone through some growing pains with him this year, mostly on the strike-throwing side," Lavy said. "His stuff will play against just about anybody we go against, but he's had a hard time getting in the strike zone, as has several of our guys."
Lavy said he told the team before the game to attack hitters and not fall behind in counts. Woods was fairly efficient to go the full seven after running into some trouble in the first inning.
Woods gave up a double in the first inning to give Silex the early lead, and Silex was able set up up another RBI opportunity. Woods then induced a double play to erase the threat and limit the Owls to one run.
Senior Austin Taylor, who Lavy said has caught all but two innings this season, hit a sacrifice fly to score the tying run.
Taylor then went back out behind the plate and caught a couple innings that Woods retired Silex in order.
North Callaway then sent eight batters to the plate in the bottom of the third to jump to a 4-1 lead. Freshman Sam Pezold drove in two runs with runners at second and third and junior Jackson Althiser beat out an infield hit that allowed Pezold to score from second.
Lavy said the team's offense was a little antsy early in the game and was not waiting back enough, driving the ball to the third baseman instead of taking the ball the other way.
"There was not much velocity coming at us, but I thought we did a good job of making adjustments," Lavy said. "They kind of gave us the whole right side of the field so we were able to adjust and use it."
After the top of the fifth inning, where Silex stranded the bases loaded, North Callaway was confronted with another run-scoring opportunity, with runners at second and third with one out.Woods came up to the plate and supported his own cause by driving in both runs.
Woods retired the last six Silex batters in the game to set the final score at 6-1. Pezold went 3-for-3 with two RBI, Woods went 2-for-3 with two RBI and Taylor went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
North Callaway (9-12) will play Moberly at 4 p.m. today in the seventh-place game of the Fulton Tournament.
Lavy said the team needs to play an all-around game to finish the tournament off on a good note after losing its first two games 12-4 and 10-1 against Fatima and Hallsville, respectively.
"We've had games where we hit the ball around the ballpark and we can glove it, but we've also had games where we kind of struggle offensively and don't field or don't throw strikes," he said. "I think, if our pitchers attack and make plays behind them, I think we'll be alright."
After finishing up play in the Fulton Tournament today, North Callaway will host New Bloomfield on Tuesday for Senior Night.
North Callaway will then face South Callaway in the first round of the Class 3 District 8 Tournament on Monday, May 17. Game time is 6 p.m. in Mokane.