Wildcats take over first in conference:
Published: Mar 21, 2012 11:50 AM
Modified: Mar 21, 2012 11:55 AM
East Chapel Hill recorded a first for its baseball program last week and got rewarded with another first first place in the Piedmont Athletic Conference standings.
East Chapel Hill came from behind in two separate games to defeat Riverside and Jordan, marking the first time that the Wildcats beat both of those long-time rivals in the same week since joining the PAC-6.
Both wins featured dramatic moments for Wildcat fans.
Down 11-7 last Tuesday at home after Jordan batted in the top of the sixth inning, East Chapel Hill proceeded to produce 14 runs in the bottom of the sixth, ending the game early on the 10-run mercy rule with a 21-11 decision.
Three days later at Durham Riverside, East rallied from a 2-1 deficit to tie the game in the top of the seventh, normally the last inning in high school baseball, and then added two more in the top of the ninth before finishing with a 4-3 victory.
Those back-to-back wins, coupled with a 4-2 win March 8 at Roxboro Person, boosted East Chapel Hill to 3-0 in conference games, 4-3 overall after a 0-4 start.
"We seem to have found what we're about as team," East pitcher Max Hoffman said.
"In the beginning of the year, we may have been a bit confused about what we were doing wrong. Now, we're playing to our strengths and learning to work around our weaknesses."
Tuesday against Jordan (5-3, 1-1), reliever John Page got the win one inning after taking the mound. He helped his own cause by going 2-for-5 at the plate with two RBI.
Steven Oakley, one of four Falcon pitchers that coach Devy Bell tried in an attempt to staunch the bleeding in the sixth, took the loss despite giving up zero earned runs.
"I can't tell you the last time we've given up 14 runs in an inning if ever," Bell said.
The Wildcats collected 16 hits with just one for extra bases, a run-scoring double by Jonah Keyserling and took advantage of 10 walks and four Jordan errors.
Josh Baldwin 3-for-3 with three RBI for East. Baldwin; he drove in Hoffman with the go-ahead run in the sixth and later in the inning hit a one-out single that scored Hoffman again with the frame's 14th run, ending the game.
"People were jumping out of their shoes when we went ahead on that run," Hoffman said. "It was an extremely emotional win."
Hoffman, Bennett Byerley, Jack Hankins, Henry Branson and Thomas Myslinski each got a hit with at least one run batted in, while East's Alex Moore led the batting with a 3-for-5 day with an RBI.
Friday at Riverside, Hoffman started on the mound, gave up a single earned run and scattered four hits over eight full innings for the win, throwing 101 pitches. He walked two and struck our two Pirates. Alex Moore pitched the last innings, hitting a batter and giving up one run before closing out the game for a save.
Hankins went 1-for-4 at the plate, hitting a single in the ninth to drive in Hoffman with the game-winning run.
Baldwin again paced East at the plate, hitting 2-for-4 with two runs batted in; his single in the top of the seventh drove in Branson with the tying run at 2-2 to send the game into extra innings.
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