It was difficult to see with an untrained eye, but Greenbrier coach Rodney Holder found a flaw with his team's 11-1 win against Burke County on Monday.
The Wolfpack forced the 10-run rule with two innings to spare during their season opener. But after his team's scrimmage with Thomson was canceled Saturday, Holder wanted to see more play Monday.
"You like to get the win and all that, but at the same time, you like to play," Holder said. "You're only guaranteed so many innings a year. Missing innings, on the good side or bad side, you're only missing a chance to get better."
The Wolfpack's defense of two consecutive Class AAAA state titles, though cut short, otherwise went according to plan.
Greenbrier ace Nolan Belcher opened the 2008 season by striking out eight in three innings. He might have accounted for all nine outs had catcher Adam King not cut down a runner trying to steal to end the first.
"It's definitely good to start off the year with a 10-run rule," Belcher said. "But we can't become complacent."
Belcher's otherwise flawless night was marred by two curveballs in the dirt, the second of which scored the Bears' lone run. He also walked three. The University of South Carolina commitment was otherwise true to form, with four strikeouts against the first two hitters in the Bears' order.
"I think we fared well against him," Burke County coach Sean Tierman said. "But obviously he's a great pitcher."
The Wolfpack got to Bears starter Brandon Love early, scoring two runs in the first while sending their first eight batters to the plate.
Greenbrier's T.D. Davis drove a second-inning fastball over the right-field fence to score three runs.
Holder's team added four runs in the fourth and needed one more in the fifth.
Davis reached on an error and stole second. King moved him to third when his deep fly was dropped. Nick Page was walked.
Second baseman Ryan Cato drove in the game-ending run with a single to left.
It was a quick and painless start to what the Wolfpack hope is another march to the state title. But Holder still is trying to solve some position battles and had hoped for a couple more pitchers to take the mound.
"We needed to see what those guys could do," he said.
Reach Stephen Fasteneau at (706) 868-1222 or email@example.com