Player of the Week

Bristow sparks Eagles’ 2-0 league start

By DONNELL COLEY
Sports editor
Posted 3/15/22

Ian Bristow talks about his work at the plate to help Western Harnett sweep Harnett Central.

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Player of the Week

Bristow sparks Eagles’ 2-0 league start

Posted

Through a trying 0-4 stretch to open the 2022 baseball season, Western Harnett infielder Ian Bristow trusted the work.

He and his Eagles teammates scored just one run ahead of the All American Conference opener on March 8, having to face opponents who now have a combined 12-1 record.

But as Bristow rounded the bases by himself at home Friday after knocking in the game-clinching RBIs to seal a 10-0 victory over Harnett Central, he thought about dedication.

“We’re out here every day ... rain, cold — we’re just working on our approach in the box, looking for the pitches we want,” Bristow said after his 2-for-4, three-RBI showing during the run-rule victory in five innings.

“It feels great. After we got pounded on when we played 4A teams ... then come out here and face (Central), it feels amazing.”

Western (2-4, 2-0 AAC) outscored Central 20-3 and collected 17 hits during its home-and-home series to begin league play.

Bristow led the group with five hits and six RBIs — a welcomed source of production, according to Eagles coach Dalton Hardee.

“(Bristow) has been huge. He’s seeing the ball great. I think he’s actually sparked us in hitting,” Hardee said.

“We got no-hit the first game (of the season), almost got no-hit the second game, and he came in and electrified our offense.”

After three base knocks in the 10-3 win Tuesday, Bristow singled and doubled Friday. The double was a looping shot to left that cleared the outfielder and brought in three of Western’s nine runs in the fifth.

“I just got in there (batters’ box) and was comfortable the whole time. I was loose,” Bristow said of his performances throughout the week.

He added that as a whole, though the Eagles’ defense is stronger to this point, he was impressed with the offense’s ability to wear down Trojans pitchers. Bristow said the group focused on keeping the ball in play to make good on its small-ball strategy. 

Losing eight seniors from last year’s Eagles squad, the two-year varsity member is becoming a go-to voice in his junior season.

“We got a young team, but we’re dogs. We fight,” Bristow said. “I keep them straight, lead by example.”

As Western looks to build off its first wins with more conference matchups ahead, Bristow kept it simple for his youthful underclassmen. “Expect anything they’ll throw at it you,” he said. “Keep going forward. If you make an error, forget about it and move on to the next play.”

Below is Bristow’s acceptance speech along with his responses to questions from The Daily Record staff.

ACCEPTANCE SPEECH: I’d like to thank Coach Hardee, Coach McNeill and all of my teammates. 

FAVORITE TEACHER: Mr. Clary

FAVORITE SUBJECT: Math

FAVORITE TEAM: Los Angeles Rams

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