Gilmore Sparks 'Stangs Past East Montgomery
Sean Gilmore stroked a one-out game-winner up the middle in the bottom of the seventh at Robbins Friday night to give North Moore a 6-5 victory over the Eagles of East Montgomery.
It was the first Yadkin Valley Conference victory of the season for the Mustangs, and the first win since 2007 YVC Player of the Year Steven Davis was lost for at least six weeks with a fractured foot.
"It was a good win," assistant baseball coach Tony Martin said. "We made the routine plays tonight, something we haven't been doing, and we had the timely hits. The biggest thing, in my opinion that won us this game tonight is that we played as a team instead of expecting one individual to win it for us."
Davis, an all-state performer and UNC Wilmington signee, was the pitching and hitting star on a North Moore squad that staged a late-season run through the YVC Tournament and made it to the second round of the state playoffs last season. He was injured in the first inning of a Tuesday night 3-1 loss at Chatham Central.
Following the loss of Davis, the Mustangs were shellacked 12-1 at 2-A West Davidson Wednesday. Friday, Gilmore and company proved they had the skill in situation baseball, and the competitive heart, to win with their fallen star leading cheers instead of leading on the field.
"Right now we're not playing the other team," Martin said. "Right now we're playing ourselves. If we can concentrate on us and get our team going the way we should be going, then positive things are going to happen.
"They proved today that they could do it. We had 12 people that played as a team, and that's what won the ballgame for us."
East Montgomery threatened in the top of the first inning. Two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases with two out. But starting pitcher Dustin Martin worked out of the jam by striking out Eagles' center fielder Jamie Pritchard.
North Moore got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first. Lyle Barnett drew a leadoff walk and was advanced by Martin's sacrifice bunt. Barnett scored when Cody Johnson reached on an error.
Shortstop Tyler Wallace made it a 2-0 ballgame with a solo home run to deep left-center field in the second inning.
East threatened again in both the second and third innings, but could not punch a run across. The Mustangs proved they could in the bottom of the fourth.
Center fielder John Spivey stroked a one-out double to set things up.
Then Wallace hit a two-out single that scored Spivey and made it a 3-0 game. It almost became a big inning when J.T. Garner followed with a single and took second on the throw while Wallace advanced to third. But the inning ended when the next Mustang hitter struck out.
East finally got on the board and took the lead in the top of the fifth inning. Six consecutive batters reached safely before North Moore's Garner, the third pitcher in the inning, was able to put out the fire.
A pair of walks and a single by Ryan Hauser, who was three for four in the game, loaded the bases for Eagle first baseman Nathan McCallum. McCallum cleared the bases with a blast that made it 4-3 in favor of East Montgomery.
The next two batters reached on a single and another walk. Garner then struck out two, and escaped without further damage when a fly ball to left ended the inning with Eagle runners on second and third.
Spivey belted a two-out double that scored Johnson and Colton Maness, and put North Moore back in the lead by a score of 5-4.
Hauser tied the game at 5-5 in the East Montgomery half of the sixth inning with an RBI single.
Josh Sheffield singled for the Mustangs with one out in the bottom of the sixth, and reached second on a passed ball. But he was stranded when the next two batters struck out and grounded out to second, leaving the score knotted at 5-5.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Johnson drew a leadoff walk for North Moore. Garry Yedkois came in as a pinch runner and was advanced to second when Maness laid down a sacrifice bunt. Spivey was walked intentionally. Then Gilmore stroked the game-winner up the middle.
North Moore ended up with six runs on nine hits Friday, a far cry from the three-hit, one-run performance at West Davidson on Wednesday.
West Davidson burned the Mustangs for eight runs in the third inning, then finished them off with another big inning in the sixth.
Garner doubled in North Moore's lone run in the top of the fifth. Singles by Barnett and Maness accounted for the rest of the offense.
The Mustangs are now 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the YVC. Tuesday, North Moore will attempt to even up the conference record on the road against West Montgomery.
The first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.
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