South Pointe senior Nick Caldwell will be counted on to anchor the Stallions' starting rotation this season.
The right-hander threw a pair of complete games in the preseason. He followed them up by scattering four hits in 5 1-3 innings to help his team to an 11-1 win over Rock Hill in the regular season-opener for both clubs.
"I had my fastball running real good," Caldwell explained after the six-inning game. "My curveball was working well, too."
The Stallions offense staked Caldwell to an 8-0 lead in the first inning. Jacob Carrington walked and Ian Henson beat out an infield single and took second on an errant throw by Rock Hill pitcher Cody Edkins. Jacob Midkiff reached on another Bearcats' fielding miscue and Carrington scored.
Never miss a local story.
South Pointe freshman Wade Hopper laced an RBI single to plate Hinson before Josh Massey walked to load the bases. Colby Robbins drew a base on balls to force in another run and chase Edkins.
Ben Berger took the mound for Rock Hill and walked two more batters. Ethan Neely, the third Bearcats pitcher in the inning, eventually closed out the frame but not until a groundout and a double by Carrington brought in two additional runs.
Carrington scored three runs, had two hits and reached base four times from his leadoff spot.
"We played pretty well in a preseason tournament," Rock Hill coach Chris Bates said. "But we are dealing with a lack of experience and a lot of youth on this team. It's hard when you get down 8-0. Our pride is hurt a little right now."
Rock Hill graduated every starter and all but about five innings of its pitching from a year ago.
South Pointe is also young. Stallions coach Jason Terry has just two seniors and two juniors on his roster.
South Pointe tacked on a run in the second inning when Colby Robbins reached on an error, stole second base and advanced to third on a single by Troy Rawls. Zach Taylor's groundout allowed Robbins to score.
Rock Hill scored its only run in the third. Chase Watts' two-out double scored Josh Willaby. Watts finished the night 2-for-3.
South Pointe had a chance to close out the game in the fifth when the Stallions loaded the bases with no outs. A 10-run mercy rule ends high school games after five innings. The Stallions failed to get a run with a shallow fly ball, a strikeout and groundout.
Midkiff drew a bases-loaded walk in the sixth to end the game.
"I preach to the guys 'You can't lay down,'" South Pointe's Terry said. "We had a chance to save our pitcher's arm tonight. We have to put games away when we can."
Caldwell finished with eight strikeouts. Taylor came on in relief to record the final two outs.
At South Pointe
SOUTH POINTE 11
ROCK HILL 1
Cody Edkins, Ben Berger (1), Ethan Neely (1), Luke Werner (6) and Taylor Gillespie. Nick Caldwell, Zach Taylor (6) and Will Robbins. W -- Caldwell (1-0). L -- Edkins (0-1). 2B -- Chase Watts (RH), Jacob Carrington (SP).
Leading hitters: Rock Hill -- Watts 2-3 RBI, Josh Willaby 1-3. South Pointe -- Carrington 2-3 RBI, Ian Hinson 1-2, Wade Hopper 1-3 RBI.
Records: Rock Hill 0-1, South Pointe 1-0