’Stangs Split a Pair with Colts in Summer League Baseball
After sweeping cross-county rival Union Pines for its first two victories in the young Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League season, the North Moore varsity team opened week three with back-to-back tilts against West Stanly.
Monday the Mustangs traveled to Oakboro to face West Stanly, which entered the third week of CCSSL with only one loss. Trailing 5-2 going into the final inning, North Moore mounted a two-run rally to fall just short on the wrong side of a 5-4 decision to the host Colts.
“I was proud of the way we battled back,” said North Moore coach Randy Wallace. “We made it a close game and almost made the comeback. We dug ourselves into an early hole and couldn’t dig out. They’re a good team and very well coached. They like to play small ball and make you make mistakes that can generate runs. I was pleased with our effort.”
The Mustangs finished with seven hits, with Justin Allred having a pair of singles and scoring two runs. Landon Auman and Morrison had one double each with Auman driving in a run. Matthew Spivey, Kirby Lambert and Josh Wallace added one single each.
In the bottom of the second inning, West Stanly’s aggressive offense created a couple of North Moore mistakes, resulting in two runs. The Mustangs countered in the top of the third frame with Allred scoring a run after reaching base on a single. West Stanly added a third run in the bottom half of the third inning for a 3-1 lead.
North Moore scratched out a run in the top of the fourth inning when Drake Matthews reached base after being hit by a pitch and crossed the plate later to trim the home team’s edge to 3-2.
In the sixth inning West Stanly again used their aggressive base running to build a three-run lead.
The Mustang offense surged in their final at-bat. Wallace led off the frame with a single, followed by a base hit off the bat of Spivey. Next, Allred’s second hit of the game plated Spivey and Auman then followed directly with a double to score Allred and cut the Colt lead to 5-4 but it was as close as North Moore would get.
North Moore bounced back against West Stanly Tuesday in Robbins, notching a 3-2 victory in extra innings.
With the bases loaded and one away in the bottom of the eighth inning, Auman raced home with the winning run for the Mustangs when the ball got past the Colts’ catcher, giving his team the victory in their home opener.
“Another big win for our program,” said Wallace. “West Stanly kept pressure on us all night and wouldn’t go away. They play small ball very good (sic) and you always have to be ready for a bunt, no matter what the count is or who the batter is.
“Dustin (Morrison) pitched great. He started off with three walks in the first inning, but came back and controlled the game. We were able to get on the board early, and that helped us get going. Josh Wallace had a huge diving catch in the top of the seventh inning with one out and a runner on first base. That swung the momentum back to our side. Then Justin Allred threw out their leadoff batter at second on steal attempt in the top of the eighth, which stopped their comeback.”
Morrison pitched the entire eight innings, finishing with nine strikeouts, while allowing four hits and walking five. Both of West Stanly’s run were unearned and came in the top of the fifth with two outs.
The Mustangs struck for their first run when leadoff batter Kirby Lambert reached base on an error by
the Colt center fielder. Lambert moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt laid down by Ethan Morrison.
Lambert went to third base when Auman reached base on an error. Lambert then scored on single hit into right field by Morrison.
North Moore added a second run in the bottom of the second inning when Colton Troxler led off with a single hit into the gap between left and center field. Allred beat out an infield single and Spivey advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Troxler then scored on a double hit down the left field line by Drake Matthews, putting the Mustangs up 2-0.
West Stanly brought in a new pitcher, which quieted the Mustang bats over the next three-plus innings. The Colts later tied the score in the top of the fifth inning by taking advantage of a few North Moore miscues.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Auman led off the inning reaching first base after being hit by a pitch. Next, Morrison beat out bunt, putting on first and second bases with no outs. Wallace advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt, which prompted West Stanly to intentionally load the bases.
Then, with one out and Allred at the plate, a pitch got by the Colts’ catcher allowing Auman to slide home for the winning run. North Moore collected their third victory in the past four games, improving its record to 3-4 while West Stanly fell to 6-2 for the summer.
The Mustangs hosted Lumberton Thursday and return to action Monday, when they hit the road to take on the Pirates at Finley Read Field in Lumberton for a rematch. Junior varsity action starts at 4 p.m. Monday with the varsity contest set to begin at 6 p.m.
More like this story