Baseball - East 12, Orange 2:
Published: Apr 14, 2012 05:15 PM
Modified: Apr 16, 2012 11:05 AM
Seldom has a batter gone to the plate under so much pressure with his team holding a nine-run lead.
Most of the fans shivering in the unseasonably cold wind blowing Wednesday across Wildcat Field were hoping for one more run in the fourth inning, which would bring an early end to the non-conference baseball game between East Chapel Hill and Orange.
The Wildcats had already batted around their order once in the bottom of the fourth and were up 11-2 when Alex Moore came back to the plate with the bases loaded. Moore stuck out swinging, but the catcher dropped the ball, and, as Moore sprinted to first, Henry Branson sprinted home with the innings sixth run for a 12-2 lead.
Starting right-hander Max Hoffman all but had the win locked up when Aaron Bonertz came in to finish. A double play and a simple put-out at first ended the Panthers last chance and East Chapel Hill was able to end the game early with NCHSAAs 10-run rule, winning 12-2.
"We ran into the buzz saw that is East Chapel Hill baseball," said Orange coach Dean Dease, noting East had won nine of its last 10 games.
East Chapel Hill coach Phil Woodell, despite his long friendship with Dease, not to mention the weather, might have been one of the very few people hoping for a couple more innings of work in Wednesday. The non-conference contest was East Chapel Hills only game of the week after the Wildcats 2-1 split in the Hilltop Invitational Tournament. The Wildcats have a big stretch coming up this week, with games Tuesday at Jordan, Wednesday with Chapel Hill and Friday with Riverside. Jordan (12-4, 5-1) and Riverside (12-2, 5-2) are the closest teams behind East (11-4, 6-0) in the PAC-6 Conference race.
"Thats a killer schedule; thats the American League East right there, with Jordan and Riverside." Woodell said. "By Friday, well know a lot about where we stand. We wont know it all, but well know a lot."
Almost completely recovered from a back strain suffered in his mid-March win over Riverside, Hoffman avenged himself for a loss in his first appearance against Orange. In that first 9-5 loss, Hoffman uncharacteristically gave up five earned runs. Wednesday, under cold and blustery conditions, he scattered four hits and two earned runs in less than 80 pitches over four innings to improve to 5-2 on the season.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats jumped on two Panther errors and used seven walks and eight hits to bury Orange.
Jamari Burke paced Easts hitting by going 2-for-3 with a double and RBI. Jonah Keyserling was 2-4, while catcher Thomas Myslinski (1-2) had a double and two RBI. Hoffman and John Page both went 1-2 at the plate with two RBI.
Nick Debo led the Orange bats, going 1-2 and batting in one run. W.E. Warnock
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