Mustangs Deny Vikings
The North Moore Mustangs erased an early 4-0 deficit Thursday at Viking Field in Cameron to come away with a 6-5 CCSSL baseball victory.
Dustin Morrison was the star of the game for the visiting Mustangs, going three innings in relief to pick up the win and belting a two-run homer in the fifth frame that cut the Union Pines lead to 5-4.
In the sixth and final inning of the contest the Mustangs mounted a two-out rally that culminated in a two-run, game-winning double by Colton Troxler.
With the victory North Moore’s record moved to 2-3 on the Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League season, while Union Pines slipped to 2-4-1.
Two days prior to the tilt, the Mustangs picked up their first win of the season against Union Pines at Viking Field in Cameron by claiming a 6-2 decision. However, Union Pines played as the visiting team at their own ball park Thursday because North Moore’s field is in the process of undergoing some maintenance and will not see any action until Tuesday in the ’Stangs home opener against West Stanly.
After his team’s inspired comeback, Mustang head coach Randy Wallace spoke about the significance of the victory while singling out Dustin Morrison for having a great night.
‘Senior leadership came through for us today,” he said. “That was the big thing in this one. Any time we can come here to Union Pines and get a win it is huge. It is also very positive going into a pair of games early next week against West Stanly who has a great ball club over there.
“Dustin came up big tonight and is a true class act. As a rising senior he is our staff ace returning from the varsity team last school season where he made all-conference as a junior. So he will be coming back again as the ace for next year and showed why with his performance.”
Morrison entered the game to spell starting pitcher Bradley Maness at the start of the fourth inning with his team trailing 5-1. In his three three innings of work Maness allowed five earned runs on five hits and four walks while hitting one batter and fanning four.
The Vikings tagged the rising junior for four hits to plate four runs in the top half of the first frame.
Dalton Garner started the rally with a double from the leadoff spot and soon scored on a single by two-hole batter Tyler Barber. After Vike Jeffrey Thompson flied out to center for the first out, an RBI base rip by J.W. Dick brought home Barber to make the score 2-0.
Next, shortstop Clay Thomas, who reached via a walk, came home on a wild pitch. Then starting pitcher Tyler Davis capped off the surge with a single to left-center that plated Dick.
The Mustangs got one run back in the bottom of the first with the help of a two-bag Viking error, a wild pitch and a 6-4-3 double play that brought in leadoff man Kirby Lambert.
Union Pines regained its four-run lead in the third when Thomas reached on another walk and scored on a single off the bat of second baseman Zack Dinkins to push the Vike lead to 5-1.
“Maness was throwing the ball well but Union Pines wad ready for the fastball and they jumped on it early to take a lead,” said Wallace. “Dustin is more of an off-speed guy and does a really good job of hitting his spots. He keeps people thinking in the batter’s box.
“I pressured Dustin the other night in the dugout about stepping up to lead this team and he really came through in all areas tonight, which was a really encouraging thing to see.”
On the night the southpaw hurler tossed three shutout innings, allowing one hit and one free pass while fanning five batters.
After trimming the Vike lead to 5-2 in the fourth inning on a single by Ethan Morrison that plated Justin Allred, Dustin Morrison — a true southpaw — blasted a two-run dinger to right field to make it a one-run game.
Then in the sixth inning, which was deemed to be the last because of darkness, rising freshman Naythan Batalla got the eventually game-winning rally going with a walk. Bryson Lambert, a rising sophomore, kept it alive with a single and Kirby Lambert, also a rising sophomore, reached on a walk to set the stage for Troxler’s walk-off double.
Both squads return to action Monday as the Mustangs hit the road to face West Stanly, while Union Pines hosts another county rival in Pinecrest at 6 p.m.
In the junior varsity game, played prior to Thursday’s cross-county main event nightcap, Union Pines (1-3) got its first victory of the season with an 8-5 win over North Moore (3-3), which beat the Vikes 11-2 in the clubs’ first meeting on Tuesday before losing 9-8 to Southern Lee on Wednesday.
R H E
Union Pines 401 000 — 5 6 4
North Moore 100 122 — 6 4 2
Davis, A. Tyner (5) and J. Dick (6) ; Maness and D. Morrison (4) WP – D. Morrison LP – Tyner; Leading hitters – (UP) D. Garner 2-4, 2B, SB, R, Barber 1-3, RBI, SB, HBP, Thomas 0-1, 2 BB, 2 R, Dick 1-1, RBI, BB, HBP, R, Davis 1-3, RBI, SB, Dinkins 1-3, RBI, (NM) K. Lambert 0-2, 2 BB, R, Troxler 1-2, 2 RBI, 2B, BB, R, D. Morrison 1-3, HR, 2 RBI, E. Morrison 1-2, HBP, RBI, SB, B. Lambert 1-3.
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