MONTICELLO -- Zach Beggs threw a one-hitter to lead Piedmont to a 4-0 win over Windsor on Friday in the first game in a best-of-three series that will determine the GISA Class AA baseball champion.
The Cougars, who are trying to win back to back state championships, scored single runs in the third through sixth innings to give Beggs more than enough to get the win.
Windsor, which had won 18 of its previoust 20 games, was shut out for the first time this year.
Game 2 of the series will take place at 1 p.m on Saturday at Piedmont. Game 3, if necessary, will follow.
“I was happy to get those first-game jitters out, and anytime you have Zach Beggs on the mound, you feel like you have a pretty good chance to win the ballgame,” said Piedmont head coach Daniel Funt, who is in his first year as the Cougars’ head coach after serving as an assistant coach for the past seven years. “This team has done a great job of staying within themselves and focusing on every game, and we knew that Windsor would be a great challenge.
“Winning the first game is a great advantage for us, but we know that we will have to play our best baseball on Saturday to get another win.”
Beggs struggled just a bit early, but settled down soon enough. He threw 42 pitches in the first two innings and pitched out of trouble in the first inning when Windsor had runners on first and third. After surviving early, he dominated in the middle innings, throwing only 40 pitches in the next four innings.
“I had some problems early, but I felt good all the way,” said Beggs, who will play at Young Harris College next year. “I felt like once I was able to relax, I had pretty good command on my fastball, and my off-speed pitches got better as the game (went on). Once we scored a few runs, I just wanted to keep battling and get the win.”
Piedmont scored in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Luke Andrews to score Mack Brady, and in the fourth on a groundout by Brady that scored Hunter Burson. Michael Edwards’ sac fly in the fifth brought in Andrews. The final run came when Brady, who had doubled, scored on a Windsor error.
Windsor starter Austin Thomas battled through four innings, giving up only four hits, but was plagued by control issues, walking four batters and hitting three more.
“I thought that Austin gave us everything he had, and I am proud of his effort,” Windsor head coach Tyler Brown said. “He has been plagued by shoulder issues for awhile now, but he went out and gave us a chance to win the baseball game.
“We got beat by a very good pitcher who had a very good game. Obviously we are not happy about only getting one hit, but I still feel very confident about this team. “
Brady and Hunter Knox both had two hits for Piedmont, while Landry Rustin had Windsor’s only hit.