Patriots Pound Vikings
Pinecrest assistant coach Daniel Coles credited an adjustment made by Patriot batters for the 12 hits they knocked out in Tuesday’s 11-0 home victory over Union Pines.
Left-hander Tristan Helms allowed only one Viking hit in the Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League game that was halted after four-and-a half innings under the 10-run mercy rule.
Austin Embler and Jackson Smith were both 3-for-3 at bat for the Patriots, now 2-4. Aaron Reimer was 2-for-2 with an RBI, and Matt Epley went 1-for-3 and knocked in three runs.
It was a different story from the night before, when Patriot bats were quiet during a 4-2 road loss to the Vikings.
Going back to last week, the Pats had scored a total of three runs in their previous three outings.
“I was pleased that we saw the same kind of velocity as last night when we got on our front foot and hit a lot of fly balls,” Coles said. “Tonight we stayed back and hit the ball to right field and turned on balls inside like we are supposed to do. The difference was like night and day.”
Helms, a member of the under-16 Canes team that has participated in showcase tournaments at Virginia, Appalachian State and South Carolina, was making his first summer mound appearance for the Patriots. He also spent eight days this month on a mission trip with First Baptist Church of Southern Pines in St. Louis.
“It’s been a while since I was on the mound,” the All-Southeastern Conference pitcher this spring as asophomore said. “I was just trying to throw as many strikes as I could, but sometimes it got away from me. My teammates did a great job making plays for me, so I got to finish the game.”
The Patriots scratched out single runs off rising sophomore Kyle Robinson of the Vikings in the first two innings.
Embler set the offensive tone by leading off the bottom of the first with a double up the right-center alley. A sacrifice bunt by Helms and a single up the middle by Smith produced the run. Reimer singled home the run that made it 2-0 at the end of two innings.
A single over the third base bag by Matt Epley drove in two of the Pats’ three runs in the third, making it 5-0 The Vikes had two aboard on walks with one out in the top of the fourth before Tyler Barber hit a ground ball to third baseman Reimer, who stepped on the bag and threw to first to complete a twin-killing.
A single past short by Reimer, and a bunt hit by Ryan Bender, set the table for what turned into a six-run fourth for the home team. Embler, Helms and Smith all chipped in with singles.
J.W. Dick lined a single into left field for the only hit off Helms, leading off the top of the fifth. After Robinson lined out to right field, Josh McKay hit into a 3-6-1 double play that went from first baseman Dylan Wallace to shortstop Embler back to Helms covering first.
One of those appreciating the execution was a former shortstop at North Moore and Catawba University, Viking coach Chad Hill.
“That was nice,” Hill said. “You work on that every day in practice. The first baseman threw a strike to the shortstop and the pitcher covered. That was good baseball right there.”
Union Pines dropped to 3-5-1.Helms struck out four batters and walked four. Teammates Embler and Smith also play for the Canes squad that has showcase tournaments coming up at UNC and Wake Forest.
The Patriots were scheduled to entertain Hoke County on Thursday before meeting the Bucks in Raeford on Monday. Union Pines was slated to host Scotland County on Thursday before traveling to Laurinburg for
a rematch with the Scots Monday.
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