'Stangs Keep Win Streak Alive
One of the enduring charms of the game of baseball is it has no clock to determine when the game is over or ended. So in the game of high school baseball, a team has 21 outs to determine whether it wins or loses.
The North Moore baseball team certainly took advantage of those 21 outs in their Yadkin Valley Conference showdown at West Montgomery Friday. The Mustangs were trailing 5-3 with two outs and no runners on base in the top of the seventh when they mounted one of their greatest comebacks in recent history.
Taking advantage of a couple of Warrior miscues and a timely hit by Landon Auman, North Moore tied the game at five runs each. Going into extra innings, North Moore then tacked on a pair of runs in the eighth inning and held off a West rally for a 7-6 victory, giving the Mustangs their seventh straight victory and snapping the Warriors’ six-game winning streak.
“I’m very, very proud of this team, they never quit,” said North Moore coach Brandon Reynolds, whose team climbs to 8-6 in league play and 11-8 overall. “We came up with some key plays when we needed them. We had some guys that came through for us in their roles. They have brought into the fact that this game has no clock and the game isn’t over until the last out.
“Being down two runs with two outs and no runners on base against a team like West Montgomery and coming back to win on their field is a hugh win. I couldn’t be prouder of a group of guys.”
Going into the league showdown, North Moore was tied for third place with Chatham Central with 7-6 conference marks, while the Warriors were in second place with a 9-3 record. The Mustang victory keeps the team in the battle for one of the conference’s five automatic state playoff berths. The Mustangs try to keep their winning steak alive when they host South Davidson Tuesday in their final regular-season home game that is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
Rider Maness got the start on the mound for the Mustangs, while Cody McKenize started for the Warriors in their final regular-season home game. Left-handed junior Dustin Morrison came on to relieve Maness in the sixth inning, picking up the victory.
Maness finished with six strikeouts while giving up four hits and five runs. Morrison gave up three hits and fanned one batter in three innings of work. West’s McKenzie pitched 6 2/3 innings, striking out 10 batters and giving up three hits. Carson Anderson took the loss for West.
The Mustangs took advantage of seven West Montgomery errors, with two coming in the Mustangs’ seventh-inning comeback.
The host Warriors struck first in the bottom of the fourth inning when they scored three runs on a pair of singles by A.J. Bowden and Jeff Shea sandwiched around a pair of walks. Shea’s single drove in two runs while the third run scored on one of three errors committed by the Mustangs.
North Moore countered with two runs in the top of the fifth inning when leadoff batter Morrison reached base on an error, followed by Luke Auman being hit by a pitch. Morrison scored on a ground out by Drake Matthews and Luke Auman scored on an RBI single by Justin Allred.
The Warriors added a pair of runs in the bottom half of the fifth inning on a two-run homer over the right-center field fence by Hunter Hamilton, giving West a 5-2 lead.
North Moore added a run in the sixth inning when Maness reached on a single and later scored when Justin Marley reached base on an error, trimming the score to 5-3.
The Warriors threatened in the bottom of the sixth inning when they had runners at second and third bases with no outs, but the Mustangs came up with the defensive plays to keep West from scoring.
In the crucial top of the seventh inning, the Mustangs’ first two batters grounded out when Allred went to bat and drew a walk, keeping North’s hopes alive. Cody Vaughn reached base on another Warrior error. Then Landon Auman sliced a drive into right field, scoring Allred. West elected to walk Maness, loading the bases. The tying run scored when Marley reached base on another Warrior error.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Warriors got their leadoff batter on base and Austin Lynthacum laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving the runner into scoring position. However, the next Warrior batter smacked what appeared to be a single over the first baseman Maness’ head, but Maness went high for the catch and threw to second base for the double play.
In the eighth inning Luke Auman led off with a walk, followed by a single hit by Colton Yedkois that got by the Warrior center fielder, scoring Luke Auman. Yedkois gave North a 7-5 lead when he scored on a ground out by Allred.
The Warriors tried to rally in the bottom half of the extra inning when Ben Creger led off with a walk and later scored on a double by Rusty Brown with two outs. The Mustangs held on for the win when the final West batter grounded out to the pitcher Morrison.
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