No need to panic Haywood County

Aug 23, 2011

Both the Pisgah and Tuscola varsity football teams suffered tough season opening losses Friday night.
While panic has set in with some of their fans, I think there is absolutely no need to worry — the Mountaineers and Black Bears will rebound.  
One needs to look no further than pedigree and coaching.  
Last year, Tuscola was decimated by injuries and still had a very competitive football team.  Pisgah, though not hit as hard by the injury bug, has had but one losing season since 1988.  That’s a long time.  
You’ve got to feel like Coach Donnie Kiefer and Coach David Pressley will find a way, even with difficult schedules, to make things work.  
I still feel like we have good football teams in both ends of the county and that will be proven by season’s end.

Pressley just two games away from win No. 100
Coach Pressley has an impressive down-to-earth demeanor and he is a football coach who really doesn’t care about his coaching wins.
As a matter of fact, he doesn’t even know where his win-loss record currently stands. But as a fan of Pisgah, a fan of high school football and a fan of Coach Pressley, I care.
For the record, this is his 11th season as a head coach and his coaching record is 98-34-0.
That means he is two wins away from reaching the 100th coaching victory milestone. And that is a really big deal.
He’ll try to earn No. 99 Friday night when Enka (1-0) visits Pisgah (0-1) for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

State champs to receive their ring at halftime
Pisgah High School will honor its 2011 state 2-A softball championship team Friday night.
Each of the girls and all the coaches will receive their 2011 State Championship rings in a ceremony Friday night at halftime of the Pisgah football game with Enka.
The Black Bears won their first ever state softball title in June at Walnut Creek Complex in Raleigh.

Braves’ pitching keeps them in the hunt
A lot of people applauded GM Frank Wren’s ability to acquire Michael Bourn, a few weeks ago from the Astros, because he got what the Braves desperately needed, a speedy leadoff hitter who plays center field
Many in baseball, especially Braves fans, loved the trade because of what they didn’t send away. Braves fans and management were happy that they acquired the piece they needed for their major league club while holding on to their four best pitching prospects – RHP Julio Teheran, RHP Arodys Vizcaino, RHP Randall Delgado and LHP Mike Minor. They all have talent, and they’ve all shown that they are better than their first appearance of the season might have indicated.
In Minor’s first start - he was tagged with the loss, going 4.1 innings and giving up 5 ER to the Brewers. In Delgado’s first start — he took the loss going 4.0 innings and giving up 3 ER to the Rangers.
In Vizcaino’s first appearance - he couldn’t finish out a 6-2 lead in the ninth, walking two in 2/3 of an inning against the Marlins. In Teheran’s first start — he took the loss going 4.2 innings and giving up 3 ER to the Phillies
Minor is the most polished of the four, despite his lackluster ERA and record. Two bad outings earlier in the season against the Mets and Brewers are the big reason why his ERA is almost 5.00. The other six starts — Minor is 2-1 with a 3.50 ERA averaging exactly six innings per start.
His last two outings since the recall he was just shy of getting a quality start. However, in both games, Fredi Gonzalez went the cautious route and pulled his young lefty one out shy of completing six innings, despite a pitch count that was still in the low 90s.
The start against the Mets saw Minor get tagged for four earned run, but Eric O’Flaherty couldn’t preserve the 5-2 lead Minor had as he allowed two inherited runners to score. Those little things cost him a half run on his ERA, and probably another win to his credit.
Vizcaino has quickly earned a valuable spot as the right-handed power setup man that Fredi Gonzalez can depend on. He’s been extremely effective since his first outing and can go more than an inning with electric stuff to strike hitters out.
Julio Teheran hasn’t shown yet in the majors what he’s capable of, but he’s been dynamite in the minors.
These young armed reinforcements are all going to be a huge part of the future for the Braves in their rotation and in the bullpen — and have provided a much needed boost mid-season as the rest of the staff fights the hot summer weather, injuries and tired arms.
Not trading these four may be exactly what the Braves need to get to the playoffs and make a deep run.
Gonzalez’s idea to turn to a six-man rotation in September may prove helpful because it will basically mean you can let your starters go one inning deeper into a game, save the back end of the bullpen, and still not overexert the starters before the playoffs start.
Since Teheran, Delgado and Vizcaino have all started this year, and are as good as most teams’ back end starters, getting them to pitch 2 or 3 innings out of the bullpen in September once or twice a week will have a huge domino effect on making sure the entire pitching staff is ready to dominate in October.
What this also does is give all of them experience without putting all the pressure on them mentally or physically. Who knows — if all of the “Big Four” pitch well the rest of the season, they might earn themselves a roster spot in a National League Division Series.
It probably won’t happen that all four of them would be on the post-season roster, but why would it be a bad thing if they pitched great during the last 6 weeks and earned their spots? It is more of a possibility next year, but it does allow Braves fans to ponder the possibilities of this pitching staff with a deep, balanced lineup, that now has some speed.
The Braves need about 20 more regular season wins and 11 post-season ones to make the dream come true, and likely beat the suddenly hot Brewers and the consistently hot Phillies before facing off against whatever team would come out of the American League. They aren’t the favorites, and wouldn’t be with that many rookies on the roster. But if they could pull it off – it would be quite a story.