Salem freshman pitcher Kevin Barham scattered three hits and came within one out of pitching a complete game Wednesday night, as the Seminoles defeated the Tucker Tigers 4-1 in a non-region game on a cold night at Seminole Stadium.
With the win, Salem improved to 2-1 on the young season. Tucker suffered its first loss of the year and fell to 2-1.
“Kevin Barham is a freshman, he was really good,” Salem coach Chad Kitchens said. “He probably could’ve thrown a complete game – he was one out away from it, and he threw three more pitches than we probably should’ve let him this early in the season. But, he had a really good, strong outing – that’s two in a row now – he’s got a bright future ahead of him.”
Tucker’s first batter, centerfielder Joe Farrar, grounded to Salem shortstop Jordan Johnson in the opening inning, but Johnson’s throw pulled first baseman Ryan Reed off the bag. Then, Barham hit the Tigers’ next batter, Tyler Moore, to put runners at first and second with no outs.
Despite the shaky start, Barham settled down and, backed up by good fielding, retired 13 of the next 14 batters. The lone blemish was a second-inning single by Tucker’s Adam Perry, who was caught stealing for the third out of that inning.
Salem scored in its half of the first inning as centerfielder Jordan Scott drew a two-out walk and senior Tiwuan Head laced a double to the wall to score Scott.
“Tiwuan Head had a big hit in the first inning that really got us going and set the tone for the game,” Kitchens said.
Salem scored two more runs in the third inning as sophomore second baseman Ndiayemon Harrison led off with a single, stole second base and scored on Tucker shortstop Josh Dunson’s throwing error to first base of Head’s grounder.
A sacrifice fly by Reed and a walk to Akil Baddoo put Seminoles on first and second for designated hitter Cole Gibson, who smacked a 1-2 offering from Tucker pitcher Aaron Perry into the right-field gap to score Head. Baddoo was thrown out trying to score from first, but Salem led 3-0.
Salem scored its final run in the fifth inning as Reed led off with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a Jordan Johnson single and scored after Perry gave up consecutive walks to give Salem a 4-0 lead.
Tucker scored its only run in the sixth inning when Barham, with two outs and the bases loaded, tried to pick off the Tigers’ Farrar at first. The ball sailed past Reed, and Perry scored from third. However, Barham got Tucker’s Moore to ground to first and ended the threat.
There is no rest for Salem as they Archer at home on Friday.