Cape Fear Christian Academy is off to its best start in 10 years under new head coach Andrew White.
ERWIN — Senior pitcher Reid Miller helped Cape Fear Christian Academy earn a 16-0 shutout win in three innings over NCISAA Sandhills Conference opponent Berean Baptist Tuesday.
Miller represents a class of veterans that haven’t experienced many days resembling that success, with the program boasting just six wins combined the previous four seasons.
But as Miller and company relished the run-rule victory in three innings, the Eagles (5-3, 3-1) have reason for optimism, especially with the arrival of first-year coach Andrew White.
“Honestly, we can’t do it without Coach (White) and the hard work he puts in for us,” Miller said after striking out eight while giving up one hit. “It just feels good to come out here for my senior season and win.”
The lefty leads the team with a 4-0 record and 42 strikeouts to just 10 walks.
Long hours in practice and summer workouts have paid dividends for the two-sport athlete, who says he was even late to a couple of basketball practices this past winter because of extra training sessions.
“I worked on and off season and I’m still doing it now to get better,” he said.
White’s welcome to the program has been sweetened by Miller and his group of veteran outfielders Deshawn Woods, Barrett Raynor and David Okropridge.
“We’re blessed with four great seniors and all those guys have really stepped up and they’ve owned this team, especially Reid,” White said.
The quartet has provided leadership, defense and also added important offensive production.
Miller has a team-leading .576 slugging percentage and finished with a double and triple against Berean Baptist. He was one of six Eagles with multi-hit efforts as the group has scored more than 10 runs in four of the five wins.
“We’re being smart on the bases, we’re sitting back and waiting on the ball and doing everything we possibly can to put the ball in play,” Miller said.
“When we go to the cages, that’s really what we work on — putting contact to the ball waiting on slower pitches — it’s like making your mind up for what pitch is coming so you can get it.”
The underclassmen have followed suit and provided key contributions as well. Eighth-grader Cason Pope is the team’s leading hitter, while Landon Alphin has formed a “tag-team” effort with Miller on the mound as a freshman.
“These boys have played their rear ends off. They’ve come out here every day and they’ve really put in a lot of good work,” White said.
“We came in here and kind of changed how things were done and changed how we operate a little bit. They responded well and all credit to them.”
White, who has years of experience teaching the game to youngsters as a local Dixie Youth Baseball coach, says his main focus in Year 1 was to implement structure and preach fundamentals.
In turn, he hopes to see a blossoming transformation.
“I wanted to bring a culture to the program and get the boys glad to play for Cape Fear Christian,” he added.
“You got everybody behind you, the parents are excited and everybody’s ready to go. It’s been a great season so far.”
Dropping its first conference matchup Wednesday against league-leading Village Christian, Miller recognizes the group as an unfinished product.
With a little less than half the season to go, he feels the results will continue to reflect preparation leading into game days.
“We’re good, but we can be better,” Miller said. “So we just got to keep working at practice ... that’s all it is, is just work. You get better every day.”
CFCA takes off for spring break and returns to action Tuesday, April 19, hosting Ascend Leadership for Senior Night.
Donnell Coley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-230-2040.